Spectators, Actors and the American Dramatic Text
Edited By Barbara Ozieblo and María Dolores Narbona-Carrión
Politics in Paratextual and Textual Elements in Fences 201
Politics in Paratextual and Textual Elements in Fences Thierry DUBOST University of Caen Basse-Normandie Thinking of politics and drama in an American context, thesis drama may come to mind as part of an African-American dramatic tradition. One may, for instance, think of what Matthew Roudané wrote about Amiri Baraka: “In virtually all of his plays, Baraka explores, with wildly differing measures of success, his unwavering conviction that white America forever wishes to demonize the African-American and that this demonization can thereby justify white racism” (61). The same would be true for Ed Bullins about whom Matthew Roudané writes: “He remains acutely aware of what he calls ‘the dialectic of change’ and has written plays that are deliberately political statements calling for change” (74). This genre implies that a political, moral or philosophical standpoint is clearly exposed to the audience, in the hope that they will eventually agree with the playwright’s ideas and views. August Wilson’s plays – like any dramatic work – contain some political theses, but they do not quite correspond to thesis drama. In some respects, one might even hesitate to classify Fences as a political play. However, the pur- pose of this study is to analyze how, beyond Wilson’s apparent prime focus on family relationships, individuals and their ordinary lives as African Americans in the United States, political perspectives appear in Fences. Bearing in mind August Wilson’s general historic purpose, one may think of didactic theater to characterize his work, but obviously not in simplistic terms. Brecht’s definition of...
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