I believe The Man Who Was Almost A Man is an example of imprudent youth. The story is of a boy who wants a gun for all the wrong reasons. His thoughts are of manhood. He associate a gun with manhood, yet fails miserably to understand the concept of manhood or the responsibility that's closely connected with it. .
On the surface, the message of the story is that of a stupid, deceitful, unkind, violent, black boy with dreams of becoming a man with all its grandeur. As is seen in the text when the protagonist witness men in the field shooting their guns. The protagonist, known as Dave, decides promptly that he will purchase a gun and impress the men with his skill in handling the weapon (655). We see that Dave wishes dearly to gain the respect and power so closely associated with manhood. This man who is almost a man, deserves to be called "boy- at 17 and forever. Dave is not ready to be a man, he is not ready to except the responsibility allied with the designation of being a man. The story ends with a kindly white man being cheated out of $50 and the protagonist, the black boy-man, riding off into the night with nothing but anger, a gun and a long track record of poor judgment. .
Upon further examination, Dave appears to be less responsible for his shortcomings. His poverty is deep and his parents are awful and he has no future. In his environment there is practically no way he could grow up and develop self-respect and the respect of others. Dave is treated just like a mule, given no responsibility, not even the chance to hold on to part of his earnings. This is seen when Joe, the store owner ask "your ma letting you have your own money now?-(656). .
Dave doesn't want a gun; he wants to be a man. This is a natural, healthy desire that hasn't yet been beat out of him. The fact that he thinks a gun will do the trick is ignorant, but the only solution his environment can have him imagine. Dave's belief that having a gun will make him a man is ridiculous and repellent but as the story turns out, his pursuit of having a gun is his ticket out of town, his only hope for becoming a man.