Dave Saunders is a seventeen-year-old African American sharecropper who lives with his parents on a plantation in Mississippi. He is frustrated with his position in life and feels that he is not respected as a man. Dave wants to buy a gun to prove his manhood, but his mother refuses to give him the money.One day, while Dave is out working in the fields, he comes across a dead hawk. He takes the hawk home and skins it, making a pair of gloves out of the hide. He then uses the hawk’s talons to shoot at a barn, killing a chicken in the process. When his mother finds out, she is angry and says that he must pay for the chicken.Dave goes to the store to buy a gun, but the storekeeper will not sell him one without his mother’s permission. Dave is so desperate to have a gun that he steals the storekeeper’s pistol. He is immediately caught and is brought before the judge. Dave is sentenced to two years in prison.When he is released, Dave returns home and finds that his parents have died. He goes to work for a white family, but he is constantly treated as a child. One day, he gets into an argument with the son of the family and quits.Dave finally realizes that he will never be respected as a man unless he changes his ways. He returns to the plantation and asks for his job back. The family agrees to take him back, and Dave Saunders finally becomes a man.
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