In life, there are many decisions that everyone must make. And with decision-making comes consequences, some that we are ready for, and some that we may not be ready for. The author of " The Man Who Was Almost a Man," Richard Wright, portrays a young man who wants to be a man, but shows that he is clearly unprepared for manhood and the consequences that come with that responsibility. Through decision making based on self interest, wanting to gain respect from his family, and wanting to prove his dignity, Richard Wright brings forth the main character, Dave, a seventeen year old boy, whose actions show that he is only "almost a man." Throughout the story, many of Dave's decisions were based solely on his own interests. In fact, everything that Dave did was for his own interest, whether good or bad. An example of this would be Dave's decision to purchase the gun after begging his mother for money.
Dave promised his mother that he would bring the gun right back to her so that she could give it to his father. Instead, Dave went against his mother's will and hid the gun from her. Knowing that making decisions are geared toward, a person's self interest and their beliefs, it is easily understood why Dave decided to buy the gun from Joe. Dave felt that with a gun, everyone would have to respect him, therefore he thought that a gun would make him a man regardless of his age. A person's decision making can display whether or not that person is mature enough to accept manhood, but can also prove immaturity and that a person is not yet ready to be on their own. In Dave's case, his immaturity was displayed and showed that he was not yet ready to be a man.
With Dave feeling as if he is no longer a boy, he felt he deserved respect. Dave wanted the entire town to respect him but really yearned for it mostly from his parents. He worked hard in the fields and the money that he earned went to his mother. "Ol' man Hawkins give y uh mah money y it? ," Dave said to his mother. He felt that since he did the work, then he should get the money, or at least some of it.
After killing the mule in an accident, Dave also wanted to regain the respect of his boss and the other townspeople. They tormented him for his immaturity and he wanted badly to change his perception and earn his respect back. " All the crowd was laughing now." The townspeople were laughing at "Dave right after he accidentally shot the mule. "Dave really wanted to be treated like a man but it seemed as if it would never happen.
"Damn em all Nobody ever gave him anything. All he did was work. They treat me like a mule, n then they beat me." Dave was not ready for the consequences that he would have to face for shooting the mule. It was an accident but he had to stand up to it. "Dave's decision to purchase the gun was questionable but his decision to disobey his mother by hiding the gun was more insane.
The author of " The Man Who Was Almost a Man," Richard Wright, developed a beautiful title for this short story because Dave's actions proved that he was only "almost a man." At the end of the story, Dave runs away to try to gain another chance at becoming a man before he is ready.