Unlocked Minds: August Wilson’s Suspects, Ex-Cons, or Soon-to-Be Convicted Characters in his American Century Cycle

Skyler Easton Saunders

Abstract


This essay is a meditation on the significant number of carceral references made by the late Mr. August Wilson in his American Century Cycle. It sets out to delineate the various instances where Mr. Wilson mentions the many associated pains, both mental and corporal, that crop up in lives of his characters, related to prisons, jail, work farms, chain gangs and other forms of detainment and imprisonment.


Keywords


August Wilson; jail; prison; incarceration; Black Lives Matter; George Floyd; Breonna Taylor; Parchman Farm; American Century Cycle

Full Text:

PDF

References


Bauder, Bob. “Ex-Cons Learn Trade Turning August Wilson’s Childhood Home into Arts Space.” TribLIVE.com, Trib Total Media, LLC, 24 Dec. 2014, https://archivetriblive.com/local/pittsburgh-alleghany/ex-cons-learn-trade-turning-august-wilsons-childhood-home-into-arts-space/. Accessed 5 June 2019.

Caywood, Cynthia L. and Carlton Floyd. “She Make You Right with Yourself”: Aunt Ester, Masculine Loss and Cultural Redemption in August Wilson’s Cycle Plays,” College Literature, Johns Hopkins UP 9 Apr. 2009, muse.jhu.edu/article/262599. Accessed 5 June 2020.

Morrison, Toni, “Foreword to The Piano Lesson.” Theatre Communications Group, 2007.

Hedges, Chris. The Play's the Thing. 17 June 2014, billmoyers.com/2013/12/18/the-plays-the-thing/.

NAACP: U.S. Prisons Funded At Expense Of Education. 7 Apr. 2011, www.npr.org/2011/04/07/135209942/naacp-u-s-prisons-funded-at-expense-of-education.

Smith, Kyle. “August Wilson’s Cycle of bloodshed” The New Criterion, newcriterion.com/issues/2017/3:august-wilsons-cycle-of-bloodshed. Accessed 5 June 2020.

Wardi, Janine Anissa. “The Colored Man Can’t Fix Nothing with the Law”: Carceral Spaces in August Wilson’s ‘The Piano Lesson.’” Journal of African American Studies, vol. 17, no. 4, 2013, pp. 506-517. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43525524. Accessed 5 June 2020.

Wilson, August. Fences. New York, Theatre Communications Group, 2007.

---. Gem of the Ocean. New York, Theatre Communications Group, 2007.

---. Jitney. New York, Theatre Communications Group, 2007.

---. Joe Turner's Come and Gone. New York, Theatre Communications Group, 2007.

---. King Hedley II. New York, Theatre Communications Group, 2007.

---. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. New York, Theatre Communications Group, 2007.

---. The Piano Lesson. New York, Theatre Communications Group, 2007.

---. Radio Golf. New York, Theatre Communications Group, 2007.

---. Seven Guitars. New York, Theatre Communications Group, 2007.

---. Two Trains Running. New York, Theatre Communications Group, 2007.

Witherspoon, Williams H.W. Kimmika. “Challenging the Stereotypes of Black Manhood:

The Hidden Transcript in Jitney.” August Wilson: Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle. U of Iowa P. 2010. Accessed 5 June 2020.

Zhang, Hongmei. “August Wilson’s Otherness in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.” Theory and Practice in Language Studies 6 (1): 171 Jan. 2016. Accessed 5 June 2020.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/awj.2020.55



Copyright (c) 2020 Skyler Easton Saunders

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.