Symbolism In The Man Who Was Almost A Man

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The short story “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” is about a seventeen year old boy, Dave Saunders, who after a long hard day of work in Mr. Hawkin’s field, decides he will buy a gun to get people’s respect and prove is no longer a child. The short story takes place in the South before the 1940’s. Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities; therefore, symbolism often brings a deeper meaning to the story. A symbol used throughout this short story is a gun; the gun represents the main character, Dave, trying to achieve manhood too quickly. Even though Dave believes he is a man, his mother does not think he is a man. When Dave approaches his mother about getting his mother disapproves, telling him he has gone “plumb crazy” and that Dave is “nothing but a boy”. Dave begins bribing his mother by saying, “Pa ain’t got no gun. We needa gun in the house”. Dave is conveying he is still a boy by trying to persuade his mom to get a gun; if Dave was a man he would not have to get his mom’s permission to get a gun. Dave also does not confront his dad about getting the gun and tells his ma that they would not tell him about the gun. Here Dave is showing that he is more of a coward rather than a man, because he does not have the courage to stand up to his…show more content…
Dave decides to get on the train because it would take him two years to pay off the mule he had killed. He was determined to not have to wait two years because he said, “Ah’ll be dam!”, and got on the train without caring. This is showing that Dave is not a man yet because he does not pay off his debt to Mr. Hawkins. Also, Dave does not tell his family that he is leaving; Dave probably did this because if he would have told them he would not have had the strength to leave, showing he is not yet a man. In conclusion, Dave is not yet a man because of his actions of not taking care of the debt and not saying goodbye to his
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