Dave Saunders is the main character of the story, the Theme of the Story is “Looking for Maturity, Respect and Power”. He is tired of been treated as a child, wants to spend his money to whatever he wants, because his mom holds his money, so he just wants to prove to the others that he is a Man. One day he decided to go the local store to buy a gun, which is the store of Mistah Joe, he ask Joe for a catalog, once he gets the catalog he went back home, his mom sees the catalog, and she doesn’t let him to buy, but after he tells her that the house needs a gun and also that he’s going to give the gun to his dad, she gives $2 for him to buy it. Next day he goes to Mistah Joe store to buy the gun, after buying it he goes to the field to admire the pistol. Next day of work, his is so excited that now his has a gun, he takes jenny the mule and goes far away, so he can test the gun, but accidentally he killed jenny. However, when everybody finds out that he is lying about jenny death, he decided to escape and leave all behind. And the story started like this.
Dave Saunders 17 years-old, works at Mr. Hawkins fields, there is the place he makes his own money, and also when he begins his desire to get older, powerful and more respect. One day after he works at Mr. Hawkins fields he was heading home and thinking about the discussion that he had with others field hands that day, and also tired of being treated as a child. He resolves to get a gun for himself, so he can show more power to the others. Instead going home he goes to the local store that they offer a mail-catalog, which is the store of Mistah Joe, when he gets there he asks Mistah Joe for a gun, Mistah Joe Surprised says to Dave “ain’t nothing but a boy,” (Richard Wright) and he does not need a gun, but he nevertheless offer to sell an old pistol left-hand fully loaded for $2 dollars, Dave goes to his house so excited to ask his mom for $2 dollars to purchase the gun, but when he gets to his house Mrs. Saunders is angry because he has kept the dinner waiting, he sits down and Mrs. Saunders sees the catalog in his arm, and she sizes it, she takes the catalog and tells him to go wash his hands, when he comes back, Dave was so infatuated with the catalog that he did not notice that his father had spoken to him and his food is in front of him.
But he knows if he asks his father the money the answer would be a straight NO, and he thinks that his mother is a little easier to persuade. But when he starts a conversation with her, she tells him “git outta here! Don yuh talk t me bout no gun! Yuh a fool!” (Richard Wright), but Dave states that the family needs a gun and after he buys it he will give to his father, Mrs. Saunders agrees to buy the gun but with one condition, as soon as he buys the gun it has to come straight to her possession and also make him promise that he will do it as she said. The first thing he does in the next morning is go to the Mistah Joe store and purchase the gun, while he comes back home, he stops in the field just to play with the gun and he starts shooting imagery objects, afterwards he gets home, he breaks his promise because he hide the gun under his pillow and tells his Mrs. Saunders that the pistol is hidden outside, and it is not true.
He leaves his house very early in the morning, ties the pistol in his leg with a piece of flannel and goes to Mr. Hawkins field, he hooks up Jenny the mule and go plow the field far away so he can practicing shooting the gun and no one would hear it, but a fatality happened, he shot Jenny at his first shoot, when he realizes that Jenny is been shot he tried to plug dirty into the bullet hole to stop bleeding, but Jenny soon dies, he is frightened about what happened, he goes back to Mr. Hawkins and trying to tell a believable story about Jenny’s death, afterward someone finds Jenny and Dave make up a story that Jenny had something wrong and all of sudden fell on the point of the plow, but Mrs. Saunders knows it’s a lie, Dave is forced to tell the truth, when he assumed that he killed Jenny, Mr. Hawkins tells him that he has to pay $50 dollars for the mule, and he will take $2 dollars every month of his salary until he pays the $50 dollars.
Dave feels annoyed because he has to pay back the mule, also very upset because all the others think he is a child more now than ever before. He decides to leave the city, by doing this he will leave all behind, his childhood and he will become a man as his desire.
Dave Saunders is a boy that wants to get the power, the respect, the manhood and also the maturity that most of the men have. The gun seems to symbolize all this to Dave’s eyes, but it’s been showed that is just a phony imagination.
Richard Wright’s Parody of the Hunt Tradition in “The Man Who Was Almost a Man”(Fall 1986). Detroit: Gale Group, 2000