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Comparison between August Wilson and Langston Hughes - Essay Example

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In African-American Literature, runs a repetitive theme - the identity of the mulatto in relation to an environment of rejection. Such literature tends to treat this rejection as an ongoing social phenomenon. Langston Hughes and August Wilson, the two most celebrated African-American writers contributed immensely to enrich their literature…
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Comparison between August Wilson and Langston Hughes
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Download file to see previous pages One of his most anthologized poems, The Negro speaks of Rivers has been acclaimed for his passionate acceptance of his race and his reclaiming of black origins. Before Hughes wrote, many African-American artists avoided portraying lower-class black life because they believed such images fed racist stereotypes and attitudes. Hughes was of the opinion that authentic portraits of actual people would counter negative caricatures of African Americans more effectively and so wrote about, and for the common man. Hughes claimed that ninety percent of his work attempted "to explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America." Hughes portrays the nobility of common people and the vitality of his African American culture in Thank You, M'am. Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones, whose name ironically recognizes both the slavery codes of the founders of the United States and the dignity of the common person, gives spiritual and physical gifts to the young Roger. Finally, she gives him the greatest gift of all: the right to direct his own life.
In the mid-1980's, African American drama began de-emphasizing the revolutionary aspects of the political platform, searching instead for a strong dramatic voice to tell the story of African American assimilation into mainstream American ideals. ...
Wilson's plays offer the whites a new perspective into the lives of black Americans. In "Fences they see a garbageman, a person they really don't look at, although they may see a garbageman every day. By looking at Troy's life, white people find out that the content of this black garbageman's life is very similar to their own, that he is affected by the same things-love, honor, beauty, betrayal, duty. Recognizing that these things are as much a part of his life as of theirs can be revolutionary and can affect how they think about and deal with black people in their lives." This is indeed a very radical and a multidimensional portrayal of the African Americans and not merely a walled perception of the blacks. Wilson's dramatic writing, unlike his public pronouncements, is never strident, never overtly political. Even Langston Hughes depicted black families and social setups in Soul Gone Home and Mother and Child without indirectly referring to any political ideology or an apparent social protest. In Southern Gentlemen and Negroes Hughes not only indicted southern injustice but reprimanded African Americans for their inertness. Therefore, it becomes imperative that one reassess Hughes's works in a new light, so as to find a niche in changing times. The tendency to dismiss Hughes as a quintessential Harlem Renaissance poet must be avoided.
The main focus of Wilson's work is to look at black culture as it undergoes change and grows in evolving historical contexts. In The Piano Lesson, the piano must be read as a metonym, if not for race itself, then for the racialized plight of African Americans within the context of their history of struggle and survival in the United States. Like race, the piano is at once ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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