The seventeen-year-old “King” Dave slays the Goliath of Southern racism in Wright’s brilliant short story, whose paradoxical title—How can “a man” be “almost a man”?—will jump out at your perceptive students.
My handout provides a detailed analysis of the story’s structure (including inciting moment, climax, denouement, reversal, and recognition); its protagonist and antagonists; its themes, setting, and point of view; and its irony, paradox, and name symbolism.
This seven-page part of the handout has blanks that your students can fill in and is suitable for a homework assignment or as an in-class activity.
For the teacher there is an answer key on separate pages as well as some notes from Wright’s autobiography Black Boy about his real-life teenage experiences with racism that thematically parallel those of Dave, the protagonist of “The Man Who Was Almost a Man.”
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.