The story “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” written by Richard Wright is a vivid example of prose that not only raises the acute problem of social inequality but also conveys a national flavor. Character dialogues are the key means of expressing the main idea, which is likely to be that the stages of maturation do not depend on age but on the circumstances in which a person lives. The example of Dave as a boy who has known about hardships since his birth proves that Wright deliberately represents the image of a little African American. For the author, he is the symbol of oppression and humiliation that the black population of the country’s south faced. As a result, readers understand that the image of the boy is associated with the writer himself, who also grew up on a slave plantation and dreamed of escaping and becoming free.
The Hard work and perseverance that Dave demonstrates when achieving his goal make it clear that he is not ready to yield to circumstances. For instance, Wright mentions that the boy copes with a plow skillfully and can work long (p. 508). This quality is probably significant in the context of the story because Dave personifies the entire black population of the era when the submission was an integral part of African Americans’ life. As a result, even despite the threat of punishment for the murder of the mule, the boy is ready to run to prove to himself and others that he is old enough to lead an independent lifestyle (Wright, p. 510). Such courage is not proof of his maturity and great intelligence. Nevertheless, when analyzing Dave’s behavior, one can note that the boy no longer wants to put up with the reality surrounding him, and the escape is the conscious choice that no one can take from him.
Wright, Richard. “The Man Who Was Almost a Man.” The Short Story: 50 Masterpieces, edited by Ellen C. Wynn, St Martins Pr, 1983, pp. 499-511.