The Man Who Was Almost A Man Essay

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Voices of Prejudice One driving force behind the need for literature is the need to tell a story. Wright and Anderson both tell stories with undercurrents of oppression. Throughout “Hands” and “The Man Who Was Almost A Man,” there are forces of prejudice that the protagonists face. Although both Wing Biddlebaum and Dave endure diverse prejudices for differing reasons, they both fall victim to a society that pushes them to the outside where they feel alone. Each protagonist tries to find a sense of belonging in various ways. In Richard Wright’s “The Man Who Was Always A Man,” a young African American boy faces a life where he never quite measures up. With the story being based in a time of political unrest in regards to race, Dave endures racial prejudice. Although it is not expounded upon in the story, contextually it can be assumed that Dave lives in a white-male dominated society. In his dealings with white males such as the storeowner Joe, Dave seems to cower in their presence. Dave walks into Joe’s store…show more content…
The gun represents to Dave a sense of validation and assertiveness. Although he is down-trodden by everyone in his life, this gun can bring him power. He would be able to show everyone that he was a man to be respected. Unfortunately, the very thing Dave looks to feel a sense of belonging is the same thing that pushes him further from acceptance. When the truth comes out that Dave has killed the mule and must pay for it, the surrounding crowd laughs at him (Wright 1068). Their prejudice against him because he is a foolish boy brings something “hot” which “turned over inside him” (1068). This last act of ridicule pushes Dave to his point of “rebellion” described by Secreast (44). Running away in the middle of the night begins Dave’s journey towards finding his place in society. A place where he would be accepted as a man, not
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