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The Shattered Mirror: What August Wilson Means and Willed to Mean

Sergei Burbank
College Literature
Vol. 36, No. 2, August Wilson (Spring, 2009), pp. 117-129
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20642025
Page Count: 13
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The Shattered Mirror: What August Wilson Means and Willed to Mean
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Abstract

This personal and analytical essay combines an appraisal of August Wilson's history cycle with one multi-racial actor's account of his career thus far in American theater. His struggles in navigating the rigid, outdated and mutually exclusive dual-racial structure provide an insight into Wilson's fundamental (mis)reading of American society. The paper argues that Wilson's dramatic genius will be more fully appreciated when the audience for his plays is less restricted by outdated racial thinking than audiences today. Combining personal anecdotes with quotations from Wilson's plays and interviews, this essay seeks to separate Wilson's political stance, which articulated a mutual irreversible antagonism between black and white America, from his nuanced portrayals of human relationships, arguing that the latter will make these plays last the test of time.

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