Study Guide

The Man Who Was Almost a Man Choices

By Richard Wright

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Your mission—if you choose to accept it—is to investigate the curious case of Dave Saunders. In "The Man Who Was Almost a Man," this seventeen-year-old makes a lot of choices—some better than others. Sometimes he makes his decisions impulsively, giving no thought to possible ramifications, and sometimes he makes his decisions based on insecurity. Others still, he makes out of pure fear.

Dave's bad choices end up telling us a lot about his character; his reactions to their consequences tell us even more. Regardless, the only way to make better choices is to learn from your mistakes. Such is life.

Questions About Choices

  1. How do Dave's decision-making skills change over the course of the novel? Give examples to back your claim.
  2. Why does Dave choose to lie about Jenny's death? Explain.
  3. What is the significance of Dave's choice to run away from home? Dig deep, and consider the broader social context, too—not just his personal experiences.
  4. What does Dave's story tell us about the power of consequences?

Chew on This

Although Dave wants to be treated like a man, his choices reveal him to still be a child.

Dave's decision to leave home is important because it represents him actively taking control of his own future.

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