The short story "The Man Who Was Almost a Man" by Richard Wright tells of a 16-year-old black boy who is desperate to assert his manhood. He comes to the conclusion that owning a gun will give him the authority and respect that he thinks he deserves, so...
The short story "The Man Who Was Almost a Man" by Richard Wright tells of a 16-year-old black boy who is desperate to assert his manhood. He comes to the conclusion that owning a gun will give him the authority and respect that he thinks he deserves, so he buys one, only to make a terrible mistake with oppressive consequences. In the end, he runs away to try to become a man on his own terms.
Both of Dave's parents are strict, but Dave's father is far more domineering than his mother. He is a disciplinarian who beats his son if he doesn't obey, and as a result, Dave fears being honest with him. Dave's mother is more practical. She keeps the money in the house. She has a closer relationship with her son, and Dave has the confidence to approach her with the idea of owning a gun. Eventually, her love for her son and her wish to see him happy causes her to break down and give him the money. To Dave, however, the gun represents a maturity that his parents cannot give him, and as a result, he is willing to leave them so that he can continue to think of himself as a man and not a boy.
Dave's relationship with fat Joe, the white man who owns the store, is basically professional. Fat Joe considers Dave a customer, and so he is willing to lend him the catalog, expecting a sale as a result. Jim Hawkins, the man who owns the plantation where Dave works, shows restraint in not punishing Dave but merely asking him to pay back the cost of the mule. However, to Dave, Hawkins represents the oppression of the employer, as exemplified when Dave imagines shooting at Hawkins's house to frighten him.
Dave has no special relationship with nature. Richard Wright, the author, describes a stark landscape of fields and woods that serves as a backdrop to the story. Dave is too caught up in his own concerns to appreciate it or notice it much.