Man Who Almost Term Paper

Pages: 6 (2251 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

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[. . .] This time he accomplishes his goal -- with the gun stiff and hard in his fingers, he shoots the last four bullets until it is empty, and is finally proud of something that he has done. At this moment, all of Dave's mistakes, childish behaviors, and embarrassments seem to fade away. He is proud, hopeful, and above all, he is mature. Dave stands "straight and proud in the moonlight, looking at Jim Hawkins' big white house," thinking, "Lawd, ef Ah had just one mo bullet Ah'd taka shot at that house" [Wright 2003]. The "big white house" signifies the power and status of white people in Dave's society, and by Dave shooting at the house, he is expressing his need to escape this world where he can never be seen equally among those outside of his race. Wright does not suggest that Dave has any intention of hurting Mr. Hawkins, he just wants to scare him and "let im know Dave Saunders is a man" [Wright 2003]. Dave has hostility towards whites, but he has hostility towards blacks as well. He is not necessarily racist, he would just like to be recognized as a man -- not a black man, or a black boy. The reason why Dave has hostility towards his own culture stems from his parents, who treat him as a slave. His father beats him, his mother argues with him, and he has very limited freedom aside from his work. Dave wants to get away from this racist world where he will never be recognized as a man.

The reason why Dave runs away at the end of the story is left open for interpretation: Is he fleeing his responsibilities? Or is he running away to find a better life, so he can finally become a man? From one perspective, Dave is running away from his responsibilities of paying the mule and having to deal with being beaten and grounded from his parents. He would have to work for two years to pay off the mule, and he cannot live under those circumstances for two more years, paying $2 of his paycheck to Mr. Hawkins each month. By the end of the story, Dave is proud and feels mature, however, he still seems ignorant because he is hopping on a train with no other clothes, no money, no destination in mind, and an unloaded gun. On the other hand, Dave now feels mature for the first time and wants to catch the train North, where his life can be significantly better. The North represents freedom and equally, and no brutality or hatred towards African-Americans the kind of life for which Dave is searching. Maybe he has, in fact, finally matured and can now decide what he really wants to do with his life. He seems hopeful, and Wright suggests that Dave has actually matured by the end of story because he was going "away to somewhere, somewhere where he could be a man...." [Wright 2003].

Conclusion

Although Dave is only "almost a man" throughout the whole story, he does become more mature by the end. He is childish and callow before he buys the gun, and even after acquiring the gun he is ignorant in the way he uses it and immature in the way he tries to hide the fact that he killed his boss's mule. The ridicule he receives from the crowd only makes him feel more powerless. It is not until he shoots the gun for the second time that he begins to feel proud of himself even though no one else is there to witness his accomplishment. At this point his maturity becomes evident because he is ready to move on and escape his life full of ridicule, punishment, and inequality. Now, with his ability to shoot his gun, he feels like he is capable of anything and leaves the only life that he knows to find something better and to finally become a man.

Sources:

Caron, TP. [1996]. "The Reds Are in the Bible Room': Political Activism and the Bible in Richard Wright's Uncle Tom's Children." Studies in American Fiction 24.

DeCoste, DM. [1998]. "To Blot It All Out: The Politics of Realism in Richard Wright's Native Son." Style 32.1.

Rampersad, A. [1995] "Introduction." Richard Wright: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Arnold Rampersad. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995.

Abdul R. [1997]. Negating the Negation as a Form of Affirmation in Minority Discourse: The Construction of Richard Wright as Subject.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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