In Search of One's Own Black Jesus: The Portrayal of Black Men in the Works of August Wilson
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In this study, the connotation of the words "Black Jesus" is intended to mean the achieving of one's higher self through individuation. The idea here is that, by one achieving his "Black Jesus," he becomes more in touch with his individuality and closer to his higher self and higher power. In this study, the term Black Jesus refers to the desires, goals and4reams that African-American men have for living .in a world free of solipsistic walls and social and racial stigmas. When one searches for his own Black Jesus, he is looking for survival, a search for reflection, self-acceptance and spiritual guidance. This term is true to the real life experiences of African-American men and is imitated in the art that one reads, hears and sees. August Wilson is one such playwright who focuses on these goals and problems through his plays. In the seven plays by Wilson, each of his male lead characters is on his journey for his own Black Jesus. Though Wilson and other authors and reviewers of Wilson's work do not use -the term Black Jesus, the characteristics observed in Wilson's lead characters are the same characteristics that are listed here for one searching for his Black Jesus. Though other authors, playwrights or poets of the African-American community may not use this term, the characteristics are prevalent in many of their works. What Wilson does is take the four key characteristics and weave them in and out of the protagonist's life throughout the entire play, when other authors and playwrights may only focus on one. When only one of these characteristics is focused on, it makes the character seem shallow, artificial, and unreliable. Wilson's contemporary writing style-that encompasses the dreams, goals and fears of the African-American male through the last decade,is not only important to -members of the African-American community, but to all members of society. The educational purpose of this study is that it will act as a guide to students and teachers who need to do work with character analysis, either in plays or short stories. Analyzing characters within a short story or play is no simple task and should be executed with much detail and focus.
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