The Man Who Was Almost A Man by Richard Wright


This story takes place in the south during the 1930s. This means that there is still a lot of racism around. It is a story about a teenager who wants to be an adult. Thus the title has "almost a man" in it.


David Glover: He is the main dude of the story. He is a black 17 year old kid.

Jim Hawkins: He is David's boss. He owns the plantation David works on.


David Glover wants to be a man. Everyone in the community still thinks he is a child and he hates that. He thinks that if he buys a gun, he will be a real man. He asks his mom and she says no. Then he kisses up to her and she finally says yes. But she tells David that as soon as he buys the gun he has to give it to his father. David goes and buys a gun for $2. But he doesn't go home until late so he can hide the gun and take it to work the next day. David works on a plantation (he is a laborer, not a slave). He goes to work and gets on his plow and takes his mule far across a field. He wants to fire the gun far enough away so nobody can hear the shot. He shoots the gun then discovers he accidentally shot his mule. The mule is dead. He tries to lie about what happened, but nobody in the town believes him. Then David tells the truth and everyone laughs at him for his stupidity. He is crushed because the townspeople still think of him as some immature kid. He also gets fined for the mule (he has to pay for a new mule). David tells everyone he threw the gun away. Actually he buried it. Then David thinks that if he fires it again he will be a man. David gets the gun and stands on a hill. He hears a train and jumps on it to hopefully go someplace where people will think he is a man.


  • The ironic thing is that the way David thinks he will be a man is actually a very immature act that is looked down upon by the townspeople. His "act of manhood" worked against him
  • Everything to try and become a man is done in a very immature/childish way.
  • Someone cannot become a man just by one quick event, it is a lengthy slow process.