The Man Who was Almost a Man by Richard Wright, is a coming of age narrative that besides showcases the chief character, Dave Saunders, battle with poorness and racism every bit good as his battle to derive power. This short narrative chiefly critiques the societal construction of the powerful over the weak. It besides as a subject of black vs. white. In the class of my essay I will give some background information on Naturalism, every bit good as how racism and a hunt for power affects Dave in the narrative and the journey this force takes him on. I will besides show what the gun and the mule symbolize in the narrative.
Naturalism authors such as Richard Wright write about characters that face environmental, societal, or economic forces that they can non command or get the better of. “ In naturalist novels, worlds are doomed by their ain defects. ” ( Baym ) Naturalism portrays worlds as animate beings in the universe. In Freudian footings, naturalist literature is written to demo how the Idaho has the upper manus over the superego and the self-importance. Naturalism comes to the decision that people ‘s picks are already determined by natural or scientific forces that make people behave in a certain manner.
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In “ The Man Who Was Almost a Man ” , Wright makes the chief character Dave Saunders a retainer to racial adversity. He demonstrates how Whites ever have an upper manus over inkinesss. Dave is merely like his parents ; he is vulnerable to white work forces in power and money such as his boss Mr. Hawkins and the store proprietor Joe. He will ne’er hold the power or the money to make his full potency. Dave lives in a universe where he has no power, whether it be personal or economic. In his eyes, he lives a life full of humiliation and maltreatment. He works a humble occupation for money that is given straight to his ma, who with his pa, he is forced to obey. He is besides subjected to constant denigration from the custodies of his fellow field custodies. He has a turning sense of shame that comes from the economic and societal forces that keep him from traveling after his dreams and making his full potency.
In bend, Dave sees that holding a gun is his lone option to derive regard and to set up himself in the community. In the short narrative the gun symbolizes all kinds of things. It stands for things he does n’t hold such as power, regard, and independency. All of these things he is urgently seeking. This makes him see the gun as his lone solution to get the better of all of his battles and to counterbalance for all of his defects. He feels like the gun would do him a adult male even though he has no thought how to fire one. Dave besides thinks that the gun would give him independence that he does n’t hold. He somehow believes that the gun would acquire him out of the Fieldss and give him bigger and better chances.
The narrative follows along with history. Dave ‘s battle with racism reflects the battle of African Americans to acquire more rights and freedoms of all time since the terminal of the civil war. Yes they were free but they were still missing chances. Even though African Americans had tried to acquire equality and economic purchase in the nineteenth century, it did non go a motion until the twentieth century. Many African Americans where stuck ploughing lands for white proprietors with small compensation merely like Dave in the narrative. Segregation besides had a manus in doing certain that inkinesss were kept in their rightful topographic point. Finally, nevertheless easy, societal forms started to alter because inkinesss began to travel North for better chances. In the narrative, Dave all of a sudden leaves in the terminal which could pay court to this motion or alleged Great Migration. This could besides be shown to portray a refusal to accept the ways that his household and ascendants had been pushed into poorness and had hope and promise taken off from them.
In the short narrative Dave says, “ Could kill a adult male with a gun like this. Kill anybody, black or white. And if he were keeping his gun in his manus, cipher could run over him ; they would hold to esteem him. ” ( Wright ) The gun serves as an equaliser. It blurs the colour line doing Dave believe the gun will do others esteem him. He thinks that if he has a gun, he will hold power and regard over everyone whether they are black or white. It besides is supposed to give him independence but it in bend does the opposite by doing him even more committed and obligated to Mr. Hawkins since it will take him two old ages to pay off his debt after hiting Jenny the mule. In actuality, Dave associates holding a gun with power which brings alteration but makes him take on a journey to adulthood that he was non rather ready for.
The mule can typify Dave himself. The mule is a retainer to the land and Mr. Hawkins. Dave feels like he is stuck merely like Jenny. He is bonded to a plough with no wagess or hope of flight or going anything better than what he is. Dave feels that he is destined to be merely like Jenny even saying, “ They treat me like a mule, n so they beat me. ” ( Wright ) Even though the decease of Jenny is inadvertent, it can showcase Dave ‘s unconscious desire to acquire Mr. Hawkins. By acquiring rid of one of Mr. Hawkin ‘s symbols of power and money, Dave is floging out at a societal order and economic system that he will ever be left out of because he is black.
A common subject in the narrative is lying. Dave ‘s prevarications showcase that he is disconnected from the universe and shows that he is n’t prepared for maturity. He is invariably seeking to writhe the truth to his favour. He does this to first purchase the gun and so to avoid the penalty of killing Jenny. He lies to his ma to acquire the money to purchase the gun by stating her that he plans to give the gun to his male parent after he buys it. He so lies about where the gun is stating he threw it in the brook so as non to give up the gun.
This comes back to what Richard Wright is reviewing in his short narrative. He is demoing that in the societal order in the clip that his narrative takes topographic point, Whites are superior to inkinesss. Dave is a slave to history. He feels he is destined to be merely like the remainder of his household. He feels like he will ever be a slave to the Whites. He craves regard and sees acquiring a gun as his manner out when in bend it merely makes him seem like a kid, which is the antonym of what he was seeking to make. By playing about with the gun alternatively of giving it to his ma like he was supposed to make, he shows that he is immature and non ready for manhood. It besides leads to him killing an guiltless animate being. The narrative besides shows that Mr. Hawkins was really a sort adult male. Alternatively of firing Dave or demanding instant refund, he offers him a refund solution and lets him maintain his occupation. However, Dave still resents him because of the power and privilege that he possesses.
In decision, Dave is seeking to get the better of the societal construction that is forced on him by purchasing a gun to do others see him as a adult male and non merely some small male child and to give him power. His program finally backfires doing him humiliation and demoing his immatureness. Besides it ruins any opportunity of the grownups around him demoing him regard. The force that Richard Wright reviews in this narrative is the societal construction of black vs. white and power vs. failing. This impacts the chief character Dave, who is an African American, to purchase a gun to do him experience powerful over his equals including his white foreman. Dave finally tries to battle his failed program by running off to better chances.