Richard Wright's a Man Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1007 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Literature

Epiphany: The Man Who Was Almost a Man

In Richard Wright's "The Man who was almost a man," Dave does not experience what James Joyce called 'epiphany'. According to MSN Encarta, "A Joycean epiphany is a small descriptive moment, action, or phrase that holds much larger meaning-for example, a single word or gesture that explains a person's entire personality." In simpler terms, epiphany is a moment of enlightenment when the truth of something suddenly comes forth or when a person has an intuitive understanding about something important. Unfortunately for Dave that moment never really comes and till the very end, he remains immature and childish in his idea of what a man was and how to become one.

Dave is a young boy who doesn't like being bossed around. He feels that everyone considers him an immature kid and like any teenager, he wants to be treated like an adult. However he is not willing to take into consideration his age and the fact that becoming a man is a slow coming of age process and it is not something one can achieve with one event or by possessing something. The fact that Dave doesn't understand this is enough to indicate his immaturity and his utter of lack of adult consciousness and awareness. He decides that if he possessed a gun, everyone would fear him and thus he would be treated with respect. He equates instilling fear in others with being a man. However he is proved wrong when even after possessing a gun, everyone laughs at him for being foolish enough to kill a mule.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Richard Wright's a Man Who Was Almost a Man Assignment

This moment could have served as an epiphany but it doesn't. While the entire town may have come to understand that possessing a gun cannot make you a man, it is Dave who still remains ignorant and feels that townspeople are somehow wrong about the whole thing. Instead of understanding that these people are right, Dave goes on to do what he wants to do i.e. purchase a gun. Once he is in possession of a gun, he mistakenly shoots a mule, which causes deep sense of remorse. However when townspeople laugh at him for his foolish act, Dave takes it personally and leaves the town. The fact that he leaves the town in search of a place where he would be a man, completely satisfied with having his gun with him shows that there is no epiphany to be gained. There is no moment of sudden enlightenment for him.

For the readers, we can say that there is a sincere moment of awareness where they realize that the becoming a man is a slow on-going process that goes through many stages and events. It cannot be gained with a gun or by shooting blindly. But that moment of enlightenment never arrives for Dave, which is rather unfortunate because he leaves town hoping to become a man somewhere else.

Hunting has often been associated with manhood. It is an age-old traditional concept of masculinity, which is based… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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