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Jose J. Rodriguez Mrs. Day British Literature 10 March 2018 August Wilson: Purpose August Wilson, is probably the most influential African-American Playwright to date. His plays and stories revolved around black struggles, really sticking to the emotional impact of families and gave vivid voices to the people who frayed on the margins of life, such as cab drivers, garbagemen, and even criminals. August Wilson described his plays as a way to he
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  Jose J. Rodriguez Mrs. Day British Literature 10 March 2018 August Wilson: Purpose August Wilson, is probably the most influential African-American Playwright to date. His  plays and stories revolved around black struggles, really sticking to the emotional impact of families and gave vivid voices to the people who frayed on the margins of life, such as cab drivers, garbagemen, and even criminals. August Wilson described his plays as a way to help African-Americans know their roots and understand them, but to Wilson it was more than that. It was an escape. Frederick August Kittel, August Wilson, was born April 27, 1945 in Pittsburgh. His mother was African-American a quite lady. He adopted the pen name August Wilson as a homage to his mother. His father on the other hand was a white German immigrant, that drank too much and had a fiery temper, that unfortunately his son, would inherit. But the relationship with Wilson and his step father, David Bedford, was also a very rocky one. David Bedford was an ex convict that prevented Wilson from earning a football scholarship to college. His life with his father, and step father is very closely linked to his most beloved play, Fences. Troy Maxson being the embodiment of both Wilson's father, and step father. The connections are Troy's drinking sessions, and Troy's negligence with letting Cory, his son play football with a scholarship. The following quote is said by Troy from the play Fences, “He ought to go and get recruited in how to fix cars or something where he can make a living.   (1.1.69). Troy thinks Cory’s big dream is impractical. This could have been the same for Wilson, and his father on the topic of writing poetry and plays. The play could have been Wilson telling his teenage life story, something that made him the playwright he was, and why he wrote stories depicting black struggle. Although Wilson’s father and stepfather was a hurtful aspect of his life, his mother was to said to support Wilson in most things he did. This also goes for the play Fences where Troy's wife Rose is not completely against the idea of Cory playing Football, as said in this quote “They gonna send a recruiter by to talk to you. He'll tell you he ain't talking about making no living playing football. (1.1.70). Since Wilson decided to adopt the pen name “August Wilson”, it is safe to assume his mother was a great deal in his life. The theme of death and mortality is persistent throughout the play Fences, the play opens up with a story of Troy wrestling with death and saying Troy won. But the play reaches his climax when Troy is infuriated, and swings a bat at Death and taunts it. Eight years later Troy has died from a heart attack. The cause of Wilson's father is unknown, but it could be connected to Troy’s death in Fences. His drinking or temper problems could have ultimately taken a toll on him and died. This is just a theory, the history of Wilson’s father after his mother divorced is unknown. Another big reason to support this theory is the fact that Wilson mainly focused on writing about people “fraying on the margins of life”, such as cab drivers, petty criminals and garbagemen. Wilson’s father was a baker and was also a drunk, it is fair to say he was “fraying in the margins of life”, as well as Troy from Fences in which his occupation was being a garbageman. All connections made so far, point toward the play Fences being sort of a dramatization of his own life, he wrote to show black struggles and this was his way of showing his own struggles, in his family.   Home, what is home? A place to feel safe, wanted, and loved? For August Wilson it is so much more than that. It was the history, lives, and struggles of his home that mattered the most. In 1985 August Wilson wrote the poem Home, for Yale Repertory Theatre. In this poem it appears that he talks about black struggle as a whole. He refers to his people as “compatriots” as said in this following line “My compatriots & I have traveled many roads.” In this poem he really emphasizes the fact that Africans and African-Americans never had it easy. He talks about his people in a very respectful manner almost like saying “we mean no harm”, As said in this quote “My compatriots & I We take off our hat. We salute you.” We walk up to the door. We open it & enter. We take off our hat. We hang it up. We give you, with love & thanks.” That last sentence of the quote express the kindness he and his compatriots want to bring and show for all the good things most people have done for them. Along this whole poem there is the constant theme of Home and Belonging, and in certains lines such as this one it feels almost like its a plea for help or even rescue, “Some roads have opened to us. Some have refused to our bargain.” Wilson struggled with the concept of Home in his childhood and teen years with both his father and step-father, it makes total sense that we would want to feel as if he belonged somewhere. When Wilson and his family moved after the divorce with his drunken father, Wilson started attending a Caucasian majority prep school, he constantly struggled with racism. He would find vulgar and racist writing on his desk almost everyday at the beginning of school, to have to go through that as a kid and adult would  be horrendous. This poem really gives of an idea that he was tired of living with constant  judgement, and he decided to take a stand for all African and African-Americans. After all he  does mainly write about Black struggle in America, and giving voices to the people who are not often heard, seen, or even listened to. Wilson’s intention in his writing was for it to go a long way, and help the African-American community with their struggles in life. Giving perspectives from different people and their backgrounds. His wishes was to make the community be heard, and in his poem Home he expresses that in the following line “My compatriots & I ask for your attention.” This whole Poem is almost like a cry for help, it elaborates on the African-American intentions. Which are that, they just want to feel at home and that they have no bad intentions. This whole poem comprises his reasons for writing, while also connecting a bit to his childhood. He writes to relieve himself of his past while also attempt to help others, and telling them they are not alone. August Wilson was not your average playwright, he wrote with passion, purpose, and with a plan. Giving voices to those not heard nor cared for. For people fraying on the margins of life. His past for the most part helped him through his writing, in his most beloved play Fences, he gives an indirect insight to his teenage years and the struggle with his father and step-father. But also making a homage to his mother, for being his rock in his childhood and teenage years. Mostly all the characters in the play are reflections of real life people he had to deal with in his  past. Of course the play is dramatized for excitement and emotion, but it does not take away from the purpose of the story and theme, which is Responsibility and Family. But not all his work is dramatized and filled with emotional moments, he takes a much more mellow approach with his poem Home. This poem is very different from his previous works, as he gives his fellow “compatriots” a voice to be heard. He shares a story of survival and longing for home and belonging. This was
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