Study Guide

The Man Who Was Almost a Man Power

By Richard Wright

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We have to agree with Kanye on this one—no one man should have all that power. In "The Man Who Was Almost a Man," seventeen-year-old Dave Saunders is desperate to feel strong after being bullied and/or babied by everyone in his life. It's a brutal combo. In light of these feelings of powerlessness, Dave begins obsessing over buying a gun, eager to have power over life and death. He's not a violent kid or anything—far from it—but he can't deny how much stronger he feels when he holds a gun in his hand. So how do things end up for him? In this instance, we've got the power—you click, we'll cough up the details.

Questions About Power

  1. Why is Dave so bad at firing the gun at first?
  2. What does Jenny's death say about Dave's newfound power?
  3. Does Dave learn to manage the gun? Why or why not?
  4. In what ways does Mr. Hawkins hold power over Dave?

Chew on This

In essence, Dave buys the gun to feel as powerful as he perceives Mr. Hawkins to be.

Dave's inability to actually use the gun is a reflection of his immaturity and inability to wield power.

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