"The Man Who Was Almost a Man", is a story about a guy, Dave, who is obsessed with proving his maturity, and his becoming a man. He sees the other men out with their guns, and believes that having a gun is the sign of one's manhood. The obsession over a gun goes on throughout the entire story. He reads through a gun catalogue and immediately knows he wants one. He asks his mom for one but she refuses and asks why he wants a gun. Eventually, she gives in under the circumstance that he brings the gun back to his father. Instead, leaves for work early one morning, takes it to the fields and waves it around recklessly. He accidentally kills a mule and has to pay for it.
Dave was raised in an uneducated black family, so he wasn't the smartest of people. His belief that having a gun meant his being a man was a costly mistake. He did come close to finding what separates adolescence from adulthood, but he rejected it for his gun. He thought that having the power to take a life with such minimal effort was the true measurement of a man, when taking responsibility for his actions would have earned him more respect, and kept him out of trouble.
If he were responsible, he wouldn't have been waving a loaded gun around, nor would he have accidentally shot Jenny the mule. In the end, he doesn't want to confess what he lies about what happened in the field, and he is immediately found out. Then after he was told that he has to pay for the mule he killed, he decides to run away showing once again, how immature he really is.