August Wilson Essay

3691 Words Apr 23rd, 2013 15 Pages
August Wilson:

Poet, Playwright, and So Much More

August Wilson is a man who, outside of the theatrical world, is not very well known. Yet there are those, like Paul Carter Harrison, who would rank him in "the same 'artistic continuum' as Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, and Thelonius Monk."1 When I began research on August Wilson I asked myself, so what? So what if he's won awards and recognition? What has he done to merit them? What makes this man important enough to do a research paper on? Why not Langston Hughes or Martin Luther King, Jr.? What makes this man matter in this society? As I continued my research I realized that, throughout my entire life, I had been deprived of knowing about such a man as August Wilson. I
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He accused Wilson of having one of his older sisters write it for him. At this, Wilson ripped up the paper in front of the teacher and walked out forever.j He initially hid his decision to drop out from his mother because he anticipated her disappointment. While he debated how he would break the news to her, he would leave in the morning with his school books as usual but then go work menial jobs like those of a gardener, a porter, a sheet metal worker, and a short order cook in a coffee shop.m

Books have always been an important factor in his life. His mother taught him to read at the age of 4 and would sit down with her children at least once a day and read to them, or have them read to her, before they could go out to play. Taking his education into his own hands Wilson began making daily visits to the Public Library to read- especially in the section marked "Negro" which held about 30 books. Just the fact that there were black authors on the shelves was encouraging to Wilson. He wanted to someday see his work up there alongside theirs. Among his favorite writers were Dylan Thomas, Samuel Beckett, Edward Albee, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison.b In 1962, Wilson enlisted in the army for a 3-year term but was discharged after only 1 year's service. Three years later he "moved into a rooming house, a basement apartment, in Pittsburgh's Hill

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