Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Review of "Almos’ A Man," by Richard Wright

Review of
Almos’ A Man, by Richard Wright

Five out of five stars
 The author is best known for his stories describing the plight of African-American people after formal slavery ended and the informal version of Jim Crow and prejudice took its place. However, while this short story features a teenage black male that works hard on a farm, it is generally free of the explicit expression of racial bias.
 Dave Saunders is the main character and he spends his summers off of school following a mule named Jenny as she pulls a plow through the fields owned by Mr. Hawkins. Like nearly all boys in their late teens, he resents still being treated as less than an adult and he is desperate to find a way to be thought of as a man. His solution is to acquire a handgun, for he believes that if people see him carrying a gun, they will look up to him. He manages to acquire one with several bullets, but his inexperience leads to a catastrophe.
 One of the most significant points of this story is the presence of the intact black family. While Dave’s mother is willing to give in to his requests, his father is a very stern disciplinarian. His father is interested in Dave contributing to the family unit and will not hesitate to whack him good when he believes that Dave has misbehaved. While there are some black stereotypes in this story, it is one where the racial makeup of the characters is largely irrelevant. It is a story very well suited for an English class in the late K-12 educational sequence.

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