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The Desire To Be A Man

             Often young adults try to grow up too fast and take on mature responsibilities. They soon realize that they cannot handle the responsibilities of real life. For young men, a gun symbolizes masculinity and allows them to act as a man. However, in some cases, a gun brings out the youthfulness that still lives in a boy trying to become a man. In the short story "Almos" A Man" by Richard Wright, the main character, Dave, believes having a gun will make him a man but instead creates the opposite effect of behaving childish.
             Despite the fact that everyone thinks of Dave as a boy and treats him like one, he still believes he should be treated as a man. At the beginning of the story he says to himself, "Ahm ol ernough to hava gun. Ahm seventeen. Almos" a man Shucks, a man oughta hava little gun aftah he done worked hard all day" (257). He thinks that having a gun will make him a man. However, his parents disagree and call him "boy" throughout the story. When Dave brings up the conversation of buying a gun for himself, his mother says, "Ah don care whut Ah promised! Yuh ain nothing but a boy yit!" (261). The conflict with his parents and Dave's begging and whining for the gun illustrates the beginning of the gun's reverse effect.
             Knowing that everyone thinks of Dave as a boy, he feels he must prove himself and this causes him to want the gun. After Dave persuades his mother and gets the gun, his immaturity stands out. When he firsts holds the gun, he feels a sense of power and in the story it states with him, "And if he were holding his gun in his hands, nobody could run over him, they would have to respect him" (262). Dave feels he obtained the power of a man with this gun and does not realize that a real man does not need a gun to prove himself. He immaturely plays with the gun pointing it at the mule, Jenny, and says to her, "Know whut this is, Jenny? Naw, yuh wouldn know! Yuhs jusa ol mule! Anyhow, this is a gun, n it kin shoot, by Gawd!" (263) trying to make the mule inferior.

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