This paper highlights the different layers of meaning that characterize the notion of manhood in Gaines’ fiction. The quest for manhood represents an imperative for the frustrated men in the framework of the social context wherein they are emasculated. Here, manhood should be grasped through a binary paradigm. On the one hand, the expression of manhood equates with male domination and violence. On the other hand, due to social expectations, manhood refers to the struggle for freedom. It undermines the white racial superiority and it claims blacks’ humanity. Manhood fosters humanistic principles. Thus, it takes on a universal dimension.