Study Guide

The Man Who Was Almost a Man Men and Masculinity

By Richard Wright

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Men and Masculinity

If Dave Saunders had any lucky stars, he'd wish on them to become a real man—such a man. There's just one problem with this: None of the male role models in his life seem to have any interest in helping him out along away.

His dad is too exhausted from working to get too involved in his life. His boss treats him like a cog in a machine (or another brick in the wall, if you're a Pink Floyd fan). Even his older coworkers don't help, choosing instead to mock the poor boy to no end. These aren't exactly the best role models a boy can have. Still, Dave pushes forward in "The Man Who Was Almost a Man," trying—and sometimes failing—to become a real man. And does he succeed? You'll just have to keep reading to find out.

Questions About Men and Masculinity

  1. What does Mr. Saunders's parenting style teach Dave about being a man? Be specific, please.
  2. Why does Dave associate guns with masculinity? Explain.
  3. Compare and contrast Dave's various masculine role models.
  4. Why is Dave concerned with seeming like a man?

Chew on This

Dave buys a gun because, in his mind, masculinity is associated with the power of violence.

Although Dave wants to become a man, he's prevented from doing so because his male role models refuse to see him as such.

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