Generation X-- "the Man Who Was Almost A Man"

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade June 2001

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Generation X Often older individuals label teenagers of the 21st century as irresponsible scheming punks and in some cases these individuals are right. Known as Generation- Xer's these young women and men are often stereotyped and misunderstood. In American literature one can also find these same generalizations; for example, in Richard Wright's essay, "The Man Who Was Almost a Man". Although, this story is written in the nineteen-forties the same themes in Wright's essay relate to the same generalizations with teenagers of today's time. Dave, the protagonist, deals with the feeling of powerlessness associated with adolescence and the turmoil of accepting responsibility for his mistakes.

"The Lost Generation" and "Generation X" are commonly used phrases that describe adolescences of today's society. As a member of this crowd I am certainly offended by older people's harsh generalizations about me and my fellow hoodlums. The same generalizations made about me because of my age and inexperience were also made in Wright's essay about Dave.

Certainly, Mr. Joe made the most oblivious and blatant stereotype when Dave confides in him that he would like to purchase a gun. Mr. Joe is quick to respond with, "you ain't nothing but a boy. You don't need a gun." Based on Mr. Joe's brief knowledge of Dave's character he assumes that Dave is foolish because of his age and talks down to towards him. Mr. Joe is not the only one guilty of assumptions; Dave's mother and father both think that their son is too irresponsible and young to own a hand gun. This distrust and lack of faith infuriates Dave and forces him to defy his mother and father by buying the gun from Mr. Joe and firing it deep in the woods where "..nobody would hear." Unfortunately, Dave's plan backfires and ends...