Man Who Was Almost a Man" by Richard Wright. The book takes a look at the foolishness of a young boy who in his desire for a gun discovers that respect is not gained through materialistic things but through moral ethics.
The Man Who Was Almost A Man"
Richard Nathan Wright was born to Nathan Wright and Ella Wilson on September 4, 1908 in Roxie, Mississippi. His father was an illiterate sharecropper, while his mother was an educated woman who worked as a schoolteacher. He was born into a family of slaves. [Richard Wright biography]
It was in the mid-1930s that Richard Wright had started writing out the drafted version of "The Man Who Was Almost a Man" basically drafting as a chapter in a novel about the childhood and adolescence of a black boxer under the caption of Tarbaby's Dawn. This story remained unfinished but Wright had the story published in Harper's Bazaar under the title "Almos' a Man," in 1940. [Richard Wright biography]
It was during this period that Wright was at the peak of his career as a writer and went on to publish three of his major works, Uncle Tom's Children, Native Son, and Black Boy during the period between 1938 and 1945. He was the first black-American author to author a bestseller under the title of Native Son. He gained momentum as the internationally acclaimed bestseller for his research on racial issues in a bold, and realistic style. [Richard Wright biography]
The final version of "The Man Who Was Almost a Man" was published in the same year the writer died in- 1960.
This book comprised of a series of short stories under the title of Eight Men. This book won the hearts of many who praised the collection for providing the readers with a touchy perception of racial oppression. [Richard Wright biography]
We know by now that the feelings of the Blacks towards the Whites were always shadowed by the past experiences of the first encounters between the Spaniards and the Indians of the Americas followed by the human trafficking of African-Americans in the Twentieth Century United States. It was since then that the Europeans made other races physically and symbolically very low. From the past we learn that the earliest Europeans exoticized, mutilated, and even removed the male genital organ, and the women were subjected to rape. This sexual conquest continued with the capture of African slaves but it came to end with the end of slavery. Frederick Douglass, remarked that he regained his "manhood" when he physically confronted Mr. Covey, a white "slave-breaker." In the fiction storied written by Richard Wright "The Man Who Was Almost a Man," the theme is quite similar with confrontations between the young black male and the White people. [Whiteness and Black Masculinity]
The Man Who Was Almost a Man" is the story of a young boy named, Dave, who works as an African-American farm laborer. He struggles to make his identity prominent in the otherwise restrictive racist society of the rural South. He desires for power and masculinity, Dave fantasizes about owning a gun since he feels that by owning a gun he will be able to get the respect he craves. He feels that owning a gun will make his co-workers treat him like a man and not any more like a young boy. However, his wishes wipe away when he realizes that owning a gun is simply not enough to earn the respect of others. [Class Zone: The Language of Literature]
He goes into the local store and looks through catalogues. Joe, the shop proprietor, inquires him what he wants to buy and shows him an old pistol he wants to sell. Dave gets really excited when Joe tells him that the gun is for only two dollars. He tries to persuade his mom into buying the guy.
The following is an excerpt from the book about the part where Dave wants to buy the gun:
What does Dave want? A gun? Why does he want a gun? so he can be a man. You aren't a man until you own a gun. This is the south, right. Any of you watch that show King of the Hill, Bobby was wanting to learn how to shoot, and his dad was so proud they were going to go the gun section of the toy store and…