The Man Who Was Almost a Man

by Richard Wright

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How does Dave's desire to own a gun reveal the essential conflict in the story?

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Dave wants to be treated as a man, but lacks most means necessary to be treated as one. He is uneducated and immature. He lives a life subject to his parents’ whims. He views owning a firearm as a simple solution to quickly gain the respect of others. However, as he later displays, he is really too immature to knowledgably buy a good firearm, shoot a firearm, and own up to his actions. He is looking for the quick path to adulthood and misfires along the way. Do you see the symbolism? Dave is stumbling on his way to adulthood.

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