One theme in the story is overcoming oppression. Since the Civil War, even with the abolishment of slavery, there was still oppression for the black man and he couldn't own property or sell his crops to make money to rise above the poverty level. Dave had to give his money to his mother to help support the family so he had no ownership of what he worked for. Plus, working on a white man's farm also kept them under the thumb of pre-slavery times. Dave felt that buying a gun would give him his freedom and let him live in a better world. Hecould use his money to buy the gun, he would earn the respect of everyone including his employer and landlord Mr. Hawkins. Unfortunately he was worse off than when he started.