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Word Count: 863
Richard Wrights The Man Who Was Almost a Man is the story of Dave Saunders a young mans struggle with life and death and good and evil The good is his desire to have a positive life and become a man and the evil is the challenge of having to overcome all the negative factors in life his family and society Dave is a seventeen-year-old young man who wants the world to recognize his manhood Gaining the respect and power so closely associated with manhood is extremely important to Dave since he has never been given the opportunities to be treated as a man The men who work in the fields with him see him as being young and stupid Moreover nobody ever gave him anything All he did was work They treat him like a mule Page 282 Dave sees the problem of his manhood being ignored as a black-and-white issue owning a gun will prove he is a man Most of the people who Dave talks to in the story help to fan the flames of his desire to assert his manhood by owning a gun because they treat him l as if he is a little boy Daves desire to own a gun results in him precipitating the disaster of accidentally murdering a mule and rather than being made to feel like a boy for two additional years while he works to pay for the dead mule and shamed by the derisive laughter of a crowd of Blacks and Whites Dave decides to run away However we believe that he has the spunk and stamina to survive the lessons life is sure to teach him On the surface the message of the story is that Black people are stupid deceitful unkind violent and a threat to White people This is evident through Daves attitude towards Mr Hawkins his boss and owner of the murdered mule Dave senses that Mr Hawkins only wants
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