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Literary essay topics: American post-modernism: Parenting issues in 'Fences' by August Wilson
August Wilson was first named Frederick August Kittel, as he was born from an African American mother and German father, who soon left the family, so that the writer received true upbringing from his stepfather. At the age of sixteen, the writer was charged with plagiarism, since the principal simply didn't believe that a teenager had produced such a sophisticated essay. He soon became a dropout and continued his education at the local library. The writer participated black movements, and his play Fences, which won Pulitzer Prize in 1987, actually highlights the issue of racial inequality.
Major thesis statements:
1) The protagonist of the play is a man of color, Troy Maxson, who works for the sanitation department.
2) The play is to great extent autobiographical, as its events take place in the author's hometown.
3) The actual period, described in the novel, is the 1950s.
4) Wilson's most apparent intention is to show how racial segregation creates social and economic gap between African Americans and whites.
5) The author implies the so-called generational copycat effect, which means, children are likely to accept not merely parental patterns of behavior, but also develop similar parental responsibility in the future.
Primary issues to discuss:
1) Describe the actual methods used by Troy to bring up his children. Are they similar to those, which his father applied in the past?
2) Cory and Lyons' social learning in the context of racial inequality, the formation of black identity.
3) Is Troy a good father, in your opinion? Does he communicate with his children in a constructive way?
4) Is Troy loyal to his spouse? Does he behave as a dependable father, when his illegitimate daughter comes into being?
1) Nadel, A., ed. May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1994.
2) Rich, F. Family Ties in Wilson's Fences. New York Times. March 27, 1987.
3) Staples, B. Fences: No Barrier to Emotions. New York Times, April 5, 1987.
- Continue by reviewing some general information on literary essays.
- Review brief summary on literary essay topics.
- Also, review additional topics for literary essays, including:
> brief description of the suggested literary essay topic;
> possible thesis statements for the essay;
> primary issues that can be discussed in the essay;
> some readings and sources suggested by our writers for the topic.
Selected topics for literary essay were split into two categories:
Charlotte Bronte, 'Jane Eyre'
'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen
20th century literature
'Dubliners' by James Joyce
'Fences' by August Wilson
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