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Revisiting Slave Narratives II

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Judith Misrahi-Barak

Legacies of Enslavement and Emancipation: American Slave Narratives and August Wilson’s Plays

William Etter

Résumé

In a collection of ten plays, August Wilson has dramatized African-American life in each decade of the twentieth century. This paper argues that Wilson’s dramatic representation of slavery and its legacies is related not only to the historical experience of enslavement but also to antebellum African-American slave narratives. By juxtaposing the specific presentations of African-American history and culture in Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and The Piano Lesson with American slave narratives, we can see Wilson has constructed contemporary dramatic works that parallel these nineteenth-century texts and thus stand as present-day slave narratives. This essay will consider these three plays alongside three of the most widely read slave narratives in the United States: Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845), James W.C. Pennington’s The Fugitive Blacksmith (1849), and Henry Bibb’s Narrative of the Life of Henry Bibb (1850). Formally, Wilson’s plays revisit some of the most characteristic elements of the classic slave narratives, including these narratives’ typical critiques of the slave system and their representation of “freedom.” Rhetorically, the goals of affirming the human and cultural value of African Americans through oral and physical, extra-linguistic expression are also comparable.

Texte intégral

An important part of Black Theater that is often ignored but is seminal to its tradition is its origins on the slave plantations.
August Wilson

  • 1 Elam, Harry J. Jr., “The Dialectics of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson”, Theatre Journal 52 (2000) (...)
  • 2 Wilson, August, “Characters behind History Teach Wilson about Plays”, New York Times 12 Apr 1992, s (...)
  • 3 Harry Elam observes with respect to The Piano Lesson, “the legacies of Africa and of African chatte (...)

1In a collection of ten plays, August Wilson (1945-2005) has dramatized African-American life in each decade of the twentieth century. Scholars, critics, and audiences alike have long appreciated that slavery is a dominant presence in these plays. Wilson believed enslavement was “the most crucial and central thing to our presence here in America”.1 Consequently, Wilson’s self-described aim as a playwright was to create characters who “would not only represent the culture [of twentieth-century African America] but illuminate the historical context both of the period in which [each] play is set and the continuum of black life in America that stretches back to the early 17th century”.2 In his three plays set in the 1900s, 1910s, and 1930s—Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and The Piano Lesson, respectively— this continuum is most forcefully advanced.3

  • 4 Wilson, August, “The Ground on Which I Stand”, Callalloo 20.3 (1998): 495.

2Scholars have primarily interpreted the role in slavery in Wilson’s plays by reference to the historical fact of slavery and Wilson’s portrayal of its lasting economic, psychological, and spiritual impact on modern African-American life. Wilson himself stated that “The term black or African American [...] carries with it the vestige of slavery”.4 And he has dramatized such remnants throughout his plays, from Aunt Ester’s folding of her own bill of sale into a paper model of a slave ship, to Herald Loomis’ vision of the Middle Passage, both of which are integral to these characters’ present-day sense of self. While an understanding of slavery is certainly essential for understanding Wilson’s plays, in this paper I argue that Wilson’s dramatic representation of slavery and its legacies is related not only to the historical experience of enslavement generally but also to antebellum African-American slave narratives in particular. Formally, Wilson’s plays revisit some of the most characteristic elements of the classic slave narratives, including these narratives’ typical critiques of the slave system and their representation of the ambiguous achievement of “freedom”. Rhetorically, the goals of affirming the human and cultural value of African Americans through oral and physical, extra-linguistic expression are also parallel in the literary works of slave narrators and Wilson’s plays.

3In a keynote address given at the 1997 National Black Theater Festival, August Wilson provided a brief autobiographical sketch of his life as a young man in 1960s Pittsburg, a sketch which might also be seen as a summary of the slave experience as represented in most antebellum slave narratives,

  • 5 Wilson, August, “National Black Theater Festival, 1997”, Callaloo 20.3 (1998): 484.
    Devon Boan is o (...)

I left my mother’s house [and] [...] I began to make discoveries about myself. That my ancestors [...] were forced to work on the vast agricultural plantations in the South. They made do without surnames and lived in dirt floor cabins. When they tried to escape, they were hunted down by dogs and men on horseback. They were denied the benefits of familial tutoring. [...] They lived in a world that [...] despised their ethos and refused to recognize even their humanity.5

  • 6 Probably the least known of the three, the Reverend James W.C. Pennington was the first African Ame (...)

4By juxtaposing the specific presentations of African-American history and culture in Gem of the Ocean (2003), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1988), and The Piano Lesson (1989-90) with American slave narratives, we can see Wilson has constructed contemporary dramatic works that parallel these nineteenth-century texts and thus stand as present-day slave narratives. To study these parallels, this essay will consider these three plays alongside three of the most widely read slave narratives in the United States: Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845), James W.C. Pennington’s The Fugitive Blacksmith (1849), and Henry Bibb’s Narrative of the Life of Henry Bibb (1850).6

5African Americans of the post-Reconstruction, “Jim Crow” era Wilson demonstrates, often underwent experiences that were little better, or virtually equivalent to, enslavement. In the first scene of Gem of the Ocean, Solly’s sister in Alabama sends him a letter reporting that

the times are terrible here the most anybody remember since bondage. [...] The white peoples is gone crazy and won’t let anybody leave [...] They killed some more and say the colored can’t buy any tickets on the train to get away

  • 7 Wilson, August, Gem of the Ocean (New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2006): 15.
    For historical (...)
  • 8 Wilson, August, The Piano Lesson (New York: Plume, 1990): 37.

6referencing the dramatic rise in lynchings and race riots that occurred at the turn of the century.7 The white title figure of Joe Turner’s illegally searches for and forces blacks to work on his farm, reminding one of both Atlantic slave trading and hunting fugitive slaves. Major male characters in The Piano Lesson were imprisoned at Parchman Farm penitentiary for three years where they worked in cotton fields. In the same play, Boy Willie’s friend Lymon, we are told, was arrested in the South for vagrancy and fined $100, then leased out to a Mr. Stovall who paid the fine so “the judge say I got to work for him to pay him back” in a shady convict-lease arrangement.8 Significantly, it is Stovall who is described later by Boy Willie as being the person who economically subjugated his own father through the sharecropping system.

  • 9 Pennington, James W.C., The Fugitive Blacksmith, or Events in the History of James W.C. Pennington. (...)
  • 10 Wilson, August, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (New York: Plume, 1988): 13- 14.
  • 11 Similarly, Devon Boan refers to Sutter’s Ghost as “a sort of spiritual slave catcher” sent after Bo (...)

7Wilson represents the history of slavery, its legacy into the twentieth-century, and its close cousins in Jim Crow practices in modes characteristic of antebellum slave narratives. A central climax of the typical antebellum slave narrative, the escape from slavery is a good example of such revisiting. The autobiographer exhibits slavery in a particularly depraved light in these moments of white Americans going to cruel and drastic lengths to restrict the liberty of black Americans, humans hunting other humans. Slave catchers were the special target of fugitive slave narrators’ fear and contempt, even more so than the geographic difficulties in making their way North to freedom. “See how human bloodhounds gratuitously chase [...] the flying bondman,” James Pennington addresses the reader, emphasizing in his metaphor how such pursuers lose their humanity in their efforts.9 These “bloodhounds” (a reference to the dogs trained to hunt fugitive slaves) are echoed in the “hellhounds that seemingly bay at” Herald Loomis’ “heels,” after he has left Joe Turner’s illegal work gang.10 Even the characters of The Piano Lesson, set a quarter-century distant from Joe Turner, must flee from Southern whites in positions of authority who pursue them with the intention of putting them in bondage and exploiting them for their labor. Lymon’s effort at “dodging the sheriff and Mr. Stovall” and their convict-lease arrangement is the reason he travels to Pittsburg with Boy Willie at the start of the play (Wilson 1990: 37).11

8In Gem of the Ocean, Citizen Barlow’s story of his own flight to Pittsburg should be seen as a neo-fugitive slave narrative of escape: “When I left Alabama they had all the roads closed to the colored people. I had to sneak out [...] I had to go out the back way and find my own roads. Took me almost two weeks” (Wilson 2006: 22). But it is Solly Two Kings who most fully exhibits the tormenting of the fugitive slave and the dehumanization of the slave catcher in this play. A former conductor on the Underground Railroad, Solly is pursued again in the play by Caesar Wilks after burning down the city’s tin mill. Caesar is a black man who has assumed the position of neo-slave driver, assisting white authorities in keeping other blacks imprisoned; early in the play, Solly says of him: “If I ever get me a plantation I’m gonna hire him to keep my niggers in line” (Wilson 2006: 14). Caesar is a local constable, one step below the policemen (who are white) but who has fully aligned himself with white institutions in Pittsburg which keep blacks in an inferior social and economic position. He opposes any work stoppage by black mill workers and believes all such racial unrest is “Abraham Lincoln’s fault. [...] Some of these niggers was better off in slavery” (Wilson 2006: 34). It is his obsessive pursuit and eventual murder of the fugitive Solly at the conclusion of the play that generates Caesar’s dehumanization; his sister Black Mary’s final act is to disown him as no longer recognizable to her, as essentially dead.

9Inclusion of discussions of confinement, familial division, and the hunting of escaped humans served the crucial rhetorical function in slave narratives of advancing humanizing critiques of the slave system in an era that all too often witnessed either indifference to, or explicit defense of, chattel slavery. In addition, slave narrators typically advanced highly complex arguments refuting central principles of the slave system, arguments revisited in Wilson’s plays. The most common critique of the ideology of slavery made by slave narrators focused on its commodification of humans. Pennington marshals one of the most sustained analyses when he attacks what he calls “the property principle” at the core of the slave system. Slaves’ coerced participation in the slave market and the “valuation [s],” or appraisals, of slaveholders’ estates along with livestock and inanimate property, Pennington asserts, contradicts natural law, logic, and Christian principles. August Wilson chooses to present his own critique of this dehumanizing “property principle” in the context of slavery as well. In The Piano Lesson, the piano itself only enters the Charles family’s history because in antebellum times African-American slaves were transferable property. In Doaker’s oral history of the family Robert Sutter who “had no money. But he had some niggers” offered to trade these slaves to Nolander for a piano Sutter’s wife desired (Wilson 1990: 42). Doaker then relates the story of the piano’s magnificent carvings and describes how his grandfather was commanded to carve figures of his enslaved family onto Miss Ophelia Sutter’s piano when she missed this family after they had been traded: “When Miss Ophelia seen [the carved piano] [...] she got excited. Now she had her piano and her niggers too” (Wilson 1990: 44). In the most astute reading of this incident available, Harry Elam interprets Wilson’s reference to the carved figures as stand-ins for black humans:

The carved wooden representation [...] was enough to satisfy Miss Ophelia’s desire. The wooden image replaced the real slave body. [...] the carving equaled the real slave because neither was perceived as human. Thus, both the piano and the “niggers” remained her property (Elam 2000: 369).

10Both Pennington and Wilson dramatize this commodification of humanity in the white slaveholders’ presumptions of blending African-American people and the bourgeois trappings of their households.

  • 12 Douglass, Frederick, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (New York: Peng (...)

11The “property principle” was, slave narrators make clear, an injustice sanctioned by the American legal system. The slaveholder’s “political influence,” Pennington writes, is so substantial that “they essentially make the law” (Pennington 1969: 249). As a result of the slave being excluded from the ability to exercise legal agency, Douglass emphasizes, the most horrific acts by the slaveholder escape punishment; though the overseer Mr. Gore shoots a slave, “His horrid crime was not even submitted to judicial investigation. It was committed in the presence of slaves, and they of course could neither institute a suit, nor testify against him”.12 Wilson certainly appreciated the destructive power of such legalized racism both during the period of slavery and since its abolition. Continuing legal discrimination against African Americans, he believed, has resulted in some equivalence between nineteenth-century chattel slavery and present-day national discrimination against blacks who live in a “bitter relationship with a system of laws and privileges which seemingly seeks to prolong our enslavement by denying us access to tools necessary for productive and industrious life” (Wilson “National” 1998: 487-8). Solly thus speaks for Wilson in his own unique dialect when he laments the condition of blacks both before and after emancipation: “They got the law tied to their toe. Every time they try and swim the law pull them under” (Wilson 2006: 60). A suggestive interaction between Wining Boy and Boy Willie in The Piano Lesson revisits the criticisms leveled by slave narrators against the legal system, illustrating Wilson’s belief that little has changed from the antebellum period to 1936, the play’s setting. Wining Boy claims Boy Willie’s attempt to buy land in the South won’t allow him self-determination or be fully legitimized by social recognition because some white man will sooner or later “fix it with the law” to reclaim part of it for himself while “The colored man can’t fix nothing with the law” (Wilson 1990: 38). Wining Boy’s complaint is echoed virtually verbatim in texts like Pennington’s: “when [slaveholders] find the laws operate more in favor of the slaves than themselves, they can easily evade or change it” (Pennington 1969: 249).

  • 13 Bibb, Henry, Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave (New Hampshire: (...)
  • 14 This signification of Loomis might seem contradictory, given Loomis’ critique of Christianity. In r (...)

12 Along with U.S. law, Christianity is critiqued by slave narrators as an institution complicit with the slave regime. In slave narratives, as in Wilson’s plays, however, Christianity is not merely reviled but also revised to give new religious authority to the African American’s desire for self-determination. Most common in slave narratives are attacks against the Christianity of slaveholders which only encourages cruelty. “We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members,” Douglass rants, all slaveholders who often twisted St. Paul’s writings to demand obedience from slaves (Douglass 1986: 154). This sort of critique is clearly reimagined through the character of Herald Loomis and his bitter response to his wife’s insistent quotation of the twenty-third Psalm at the conclusion of Joe Turner’s: “Great big old white man [...] your Mr. Jesus Christ. Standing there with a whip in one hand and tote board in another, and them niggers swimming in a sea of cotton” (Wilson 1988: 92). By transfiguring the slave body into the wounded body of the crucified Christ, however, some slave narrators take advantage of the cultural capital offered by a Christian tradition that celebrates the redemptive value of an innocent’s physical suffering. In his discussion of his successful escape Henry Bibb relates that he pushed himself and his horse hard when fleeing across the prairies, knowing “I could indeed afford to crucify my own flesh for the sake of redeeming myself from perpetual slavery”.13 By rendering himself simultaneously the crucifier and the crucified Bibb erases the slaveholder and the abolitionist and acts as his own savior. In Joe Turner’s Loomis appears as a close parallel to Bibb’s (re-) imagining of the slave as Christ.14 His critique of Christianity as a slaveholding religion is immediately followed by his coopting of the sacrificial power of Christ to himself. After responding to his Pentecostalist wife’s call for conversion with the self-affirming statement “I don’t need nobody to bleed for me! I can bleed for myself,” Loomis “slashes himself across the chest [...] rubs the blood over his face and comes to a realization” (Wilson 1988: 93). This climactic realization, Wilson tells us in his stage directions, is one of “self-sufficiency,” achieved by Loomis when he critiques then reinscribes Christian ideals into a form meaningful to the “ex-slave”.

13Even moving into a geographical space of freedom, then, slave narrators and Wilson’s characters realize this “freedom” can be difficult to define, understand, or enjoy. This sophisticated approach to the meaning and achievement of freedom is perhaps one of the closest ideological points of convergence of antebellum American slave narratives and Wilson’s plays. Wilson’s introduction to Joe Turner’s echoes the progressive structure of the latter sections of the classic slave narrative while emphasizing the challenges of freedom:

From the deep and the near South the sons and daughters of newly freed African slaves wander into the city. [...] bludgeoning and shaping the malleable parts of themselves into a new identity as free men of definite and sincere worth (Wilson 1998: n.p.).

14 Freedom, these texts ultimately assert, is truly attained by struggling towards a sense of personal self-worth and confidence in one’s ability to achieve self-determination.

  • 15 Gilroy, Paul, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge: Harvard University (...)

15In many slave narratives, this evolution is portrayed as an originary revelation that death is preferable to submission and the subsequent liberatory sense of independence from white power. The most famous example of this narrative “moment” appears in Douglass’ 1845 Narrative when he fights and physically bests the notorious “slave-breaker” Edward Covey. Douglass calls this moment a “turning-point [...] a glorious resurrection” of his “own manhood” and “self-confidence” because not only did he discover himself capable of successfully resisting the physical oppression of slavery but most importantly, “the day had passed forever when I could be a slave” for “the white man who expected to succeed in whipping, must also succeed in killing me” (Douglass 1986: 113). Paul Gilroy’s important work on the place of slave narratives in our understanding of Western modernity has demonstrated that Douglass’ realization about death challenges Hegel’s master-slave dialectic, allowing the slave to derive an independent self-consciousness outside of the ideology of the slave system.15 Harry Elam then uses Gilroy’s work to make his own important insight: in The Piano Lesson, both Papa Boy Charles’ risking death in order to steal the piano and Boy Willie’s claim that “a nigger that ain’t afraid to die is the worse kind of nigger for the white man,” are “memories of Frederick Douglass” (Wilson 1990: 88; Elam 2000: 373, 372; also see Pereira 1995: 98). Wilson repeats this idea in Gem of the Ocean in Solly’s statement that “I ain’t never been afraid” since he came to the conclusion that slaveholders “were gonna have to kill me” if they wished to keep him in bondage, which also revisits the foundational Douglass-Covey altercation (Wilson 2006: 59). The end of these struggles towards freedom is, as figured in slave narratives, the achievement of a new sense of self, founded on a firm acceptance of personal pride. “From the hull of a ship to self-determining, self-respecting people. That is the journey we are making,” Wilson believed, outlining not only the trajectory of black history in the United States but also the trajectory of slave narratives and his own plays (Wilson “Ground” 1998: 501).

  • 16 Jeremy Furlow experiences a similar form of economic exploitation of black migrants in Joe Turner’s(...)

16Even when freedom has been achieved in the course of subjective empowerment and geographic movement from the South to the North, however, slave narrators and Wilson inform the reader that African Americans’ full freedom is often curtailed by Northern racism. That is the parallel experience of African-American fugitive slaves of the early nineteenth century and the characters of Wilson’s three plays of the early twentieth century, most of whom are participants in the “Great Migration”. Disillusioned slave narrators often report experiencing the same sorts of racism in the North they had lived with formerly. Douglass is bitter he cannot get a job caulking ships in Massachusetts because “such was the strength of prejudice against color, among the white caulkers” (Douglass 1986: 150). Migrations North by African Americans in the early twentieth-century, also in response to racism and economic oppression in the South, resulted—Wilson’s plays suggest—in the same continued oppression by white society. In Gem of the Ocean violent labor conflicts at the Pittsburg tin mill are described as occurring off-stage throughout the play; we very quickly learn this mill engages in unfair labor practices against new migrants like Citizen Barlow. “Come payday they give me three dollars say the rest go on my bill,” he relates. “They say we got to pay two dollars room and board [...] What I’m gonna do?” (Wilson 2006: 22).16 The Northern industrial economic system operates in a manner strikingly reminiscent of the Southern slave plantation; when the black laborers at the tin mill refuse to work in Act 1, “the police tried to make them [...] charged the crowd arresting everybody” (Wilson 2006: 24). Indeed, one primary reason Solly finally destroys the mill is because, in his words, he expected “freedom” to be achieved after the Civil War, but now that he is older “I see where I’m gonna die and everything gonna be the same” (Wilson 2006: 75).

  • 17 Wood, Jacqueline, “Enacting Texts: African American Drama, Politics, and Presentation in the Africa (...)

17These parallels between classic antebellum slave narratives and Wilson’s plays set in the early decades of the twentieth century exist in large part due to these texts’ comparable rhetorical contexts and aims. Jacqueline Wood’s description of the conditions of literary production of modern African-American drama might as well be a description of the genre of the slave narrative, as described by scholars like William L. Andrews: the “text/audience relationship is unique [...] because of its consistent intent to privilege, as beneficiary of audience activism, a specific cultural community that exists within a hostile environment”.17 Contemporary African-Americans, Wilson has stated, “are [still] trying to place a value on ourselves as freemen” after hundreds of years. He added, “Our cultural products, our song and dance, our literature, our theatrical endeavors aid in that” (Wilson “National” 1998: 488).

18How then do slave narrators and August Wilson engage in the common activity of “plac [ing] value on ourselves” in a “hostile environment”? An approach central to the rhetorical projects of both involves critiquing the ethnocentric values of Euro-America and its “writing culture” while offering alternative ideas of human “being” and validating cultural modes of expression not centered on conventional Western understandings of literacy. Throughout his career August Wilson opposed contemporary American theater’s narrow financial and artistic commitment to “the single value system of Western thought” (Wilson “National” 1998: 485). In his view, the ethnocentrism of the present was merely the latest stage of a continuous

  • 18 Alan Nadel also recognizes that “Wilson exposes the ways that black Americans have lived outside of (...)

cultural battle that had been taking place since the early 17th century when we came to this country in chains and were perceived as being without language, art, [and] culture (Wilson “National” 1998: 486).18

  • 19 Judy, Ronald A.T., Disforming the American Canon: African-Arabic Slave Narratives and the Vernacula (...)

19Ronald Judy has rightly described American slave narratives as texts produced “along the lines of orality and literacy,” often validating the former in opposition to white America’s privileging of the latter and the traditional Western belief that only rationality and specifically “literacy can offer... enlightenment”.19 Various forms of African-American expression described by slave narrators— slave songs, dances, and oral storytelling— demonstrated blacks were capable of establishing valid forms of self-reflective consciousness, philosophy, communication, and resistance to the slave regime through non-written, non-literate modes. Judy brilliantly observes that the key scene of Douglass’ awakening to the power of literacy—the most famous of all such scenes in a slave narrative—actually validates the power of the slave’s thought apart from reading and writing. Douglass relates how reading “The Columbian Orator” “gave tongue to interesting thoughts of my own soul, which had frequently flashed through my mind, and died away for want of utterance” (Douglass 1986: 84). In Judy’s view, “Here Douglass tells us rather directly that thought is not the product of literacy... The utterance he claims lack of is... an acceptance and legitimacy” because white culture rested its “authority” in the “myth” that “Writing embodied thought” and that the slave was a non-reflective being (Judy 1993: 103).

20In contrast to this myth, Douglass’ description of slave songs celebrates the power of African-American music over the printed word. These work songs and spirituals

reveal [...] at once the highest joy and the deepest sadness. [...] the mere hearing of those songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of philosophy (Douglass 1986: 57).

  • 20 See, for example: Pereira, Kim, August Wilson and the African-American Odyssey (Urbana and Chicago: (...)

21 Moreover, Douglass recognizes the cultural specificity of such music to African Americans by identifying white slaveholders’ inability to understand it, “they would sing, as a chorus, to words which to many would seem unmeaning jargon, but which, nevertheless, were full of meaning” (Douglass 1986: 57). Many scholars have claimed a similar legitimacy and cultural specificity for the manifestations of blues music in Wilson’s plays.20 Wilson’s own vision of the blues, offered in a 1989 interview with Bill Moyers, echoed Douglass’ statements: “Contained in the blues is a philosophical system at work. [...] That is a way of passing along information [...] and it is sanctioned by the community” (qtd. in Pereira 1995: 8). Imagined as an essential component of African-American cultural identity which exists outside of, and as an alternative to, white cultural values and understanding, African-American music is a crucial element of the “orality” of slave narratives and Wilson’s plays. It provides a means of unique cultural expression, and individual and communal creativity, and often plays a key role in helping characters overcome their traumatic pasts. Samuel Floyd interprets the blues “as they emerged during or after Reconstruction... [as] a way of coping with the new trials and realizations brought by freedom,” which is, as we have seen, a primary struggle experienced by Wilson’s characters (Floyd 1995: 76).

  • 21 Morales, Michael, “Ghosts on the Piano: August Wilson and the Representation of Black American Hist (...)

22“If Black Theater is subordinate to the values of European Americans,” Wilson contended, “it cannot come into its own,” and the characters in his plays counter these ethnocentric “values” with oral cultural expressions (Wilson “National” 1998: 489). Dramatic practice offers a convenient means of doing so, and Wilson allows various characters in his plays extensive monologues that serve as oral histories; witness, for example, Solly’s narration of his experiences fifty years earlier as an Underground Railroad conductor and Doaker’s strikingly long relation of the Charles family’s story. Michael Morales has compared Doaker to the “men of memory” in the cultures of West Africa who served as “communal oral historians” in a cultural tradition outside of a Eurocentric one.21 In his plays Wilson also offers subtle critiques of the “writing culture” of white America by privileging orality over literacy, as Douglass does. In The Piano Lesson Boy Willie encourages his young niece Maretha to learn a “boogie-woogie” tune on the piano that “You can dance to,” but Maretha (who has been learning from her mother though Berniece still refuses to play the piano herself and fully accept her family’s slave history) says “I got to read it on the paper” to be able to play. Boy Willie replies testily “You don’t need no paper. Go on,” a criticism that is echoed significantly in the second act when Boy Willie criticizes Berniece for failing to encourage racial pride in her daughter (Wilson 1990: 21). It is in this critical vein that Harry Elam reads the play’s climactic scene in which the white ghost is driven away to restore harmony to the black family: “in exorcising Sutter’s ghost, the ‘Euro’-Christian litany, the written text of faith in the Bible fails,” when the preacher Avery attempts to battle the ghost, while “the spontaneous and oral calling forth of the ancestral spirits, succeeds” (Elam 2000: 378).

23The major figure of moral, spiritual, and historical weight in Gem of the Ocean—Aunt Ester—delivers a riveting critique of white writing culture, though she herself appears to be illiterate. When Caesar serves her with an arrest warrant for aiding Solly’s escape, she presents him with the old Bill of Sale exchanged when, as a twelve-year old girl, she was sold as a slave. “Now you tell me how much it’s worth, Mr. Caesar,” she challenges him in his position as town constable,

You see, Mr. Caesar, you can put the law on the paper but that don’t make it right. That piece of paper say I was property...
The law say I needed a piece of paper to say I was a free woman.
But I didn’t need no piece of paper to tell me that. Do you need a piece of paper, Mr. Caesar? (Wilson 2006: 78).

24Obviously, the Bill of Sale had legal and economic legitimacy within the institution of American slavery, just as Caesar’s warrant has legal power according to the state. Ester, however, voids the writing of any real force by asserting it has no moral or ontological legitimacy and that she is fully aware of truth and reality without any reference to the printed word. The white written word could not transform Ester from a free being into property, though it explicitly claimed to do so; as such, it is mere fiction that does not “make... right” nor reality. The question of “how much it’s worth” is never sufficiently answered explicitly because this worth is absent; the paper, its writing, and the ideology of the writing culture that authorized it, have no genuine worth. Furthermore, her interrogation of Caesar, “Do you need a piece of paper,” emphasizes how acceptance of the white validation of literacy and print culture can delude an individual, corrupting his sense of self-worth and resulting, as Caesar’s storyline makes clear, in a loss of moral perception and sense of social responsibility.

  • 22 Barrett, Lindon, “African-American Slave Narratives: Literacy, The Body, Authority,” American Liter (...)
  • 23 Fishburn, Katherine, The Problem of Embodiment in Early African American Narrative (Westport: Green (...)

25Slave narratives and Wilson’s plays diverge even more dramatically from white “writing culture” by positing alternatives to disembodied linguistic production as valid forms of African-American expression and modes of being. Delineating the rhetorical context of nineteenth-century American slave narratives, Lindon Barrett confirms that white literacy was privileged as a mark of humanity in racialized terms localized around African-American physicality and understood as evidence of “the mind’s ability to extend itself beyond the constricted limits and conditions of the body”.22 Euro-American culture understood itself as thoroughly rational and disembodied in contrast to thoroughly embodied, and enslaved, African peoples; this perspective is, however, routinely critiqued in slave narratives and Wilson’s plays as part of a critique of white writing culture’s denigration of the body. Katherine Fishburn has offered the provocative thesis that, as participants in a system where oppression was enacted through physical subjugation, slaves possessed an awareness of physical “being” traditionally excised from Western metaphysics and language.23 In describing slave songs, therefore, we find Douglass placing value on the words sung but also appreciating that “thought... came out” also “if not in the word, in the sound;— and as frequently in the one as in the other” (Douglass 1986: 57). These intonations are a form of bodily semiotics that communicate powerful messages about enslavement. Perhaps the most salient scenes of such physical signification appear in slave narrators’ description of the lasting scars left on their bodies. “My feet have been so cracked with the frost,” Douglass writes, connecting his past experience with slavery and his present action of writing several years later, “that the pen with which I am writing might be laid in the gashes” (Douglass 1986: 72). Wilson replicates scenes such as these when he has Solly narrate his life as an Underground Railroad conductor: “Look here... see that? A dog tried to tear my leg off one time. I got a big part of my arm missing. Tore out the muscle” (Wilson 2006: 58). Solly’s injunctions to the other characters (and the audience) to “Look” and “see” his body as a repository of historical information requires no literacy (at least none in the way Western culture traditionally has defined it) to fulfill. In The Piano Lesson, the Charles’ piano with its antebellum carvings of the family history is most obviously the equivalent, in carved wood, of a written autobiographical slave narrative, but it is also a memorial of physical and emotional suffering, preserving the blood Berniece’s mother Mama Ola rubbed into it as she cleaned it, mingling contemporary physical damage with the sculpted narrative of her family’s slave past. This physical damage “the maimings [...] the lashings [...] the lynchings” were the inherited signs of “The history of our bodies” as African Americans, Wilson contended (Wilson “Ground” 1998: 499).

  • 24 Spillers, Hortense, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” Diacritics 17.2 (Summer  (...)

26Understanding physical damage as historical, Wilson appreciated that violently textualizing slave bodies “to mark them” as property by wounding slave flesh—branding initials with hot irons, cutting out flesh, or knocking out front teeth “in case of escape”—was the means by which slaveholders strove to render the black body legible as “enslaved”. Moreover, at a deeper level, such events indicated slaves were marked not by an inherently inferior “blackness” but by externally imposed traces of oppression. When these marks on the flesh became overdetermined within the cultural symbology of the slave system, they resulted— as Hortense Spillers has taught us—in the cultural pathologization of the slave through a body that was never merely material. This “altered human tissue” with its markings of violent intrusion were meaningful in the slave system’s hierarchical legal and social discourses which constructed representations of this flesh. Cultural perceptions of racial difference were oriented to a supposedly “meaningful” and natural physiology.24 In contrast, slave narrators and August Wilson emphasize that the author of the black body’s marks are not God or nature but the cruel and arbitrary human authority of slaveholders and the violent racism of the lynch mob. As is the case with many slave narratives and characters like Solly, the depiction of slavery’s violent impulse to imprint the black body “translate [s] literacy from a sign of Reason to one of... annihilation” and physical as well as psychological violation (Judy 1993: 71).

  • 25 Rich, Frank, “Panoramic History of Blacks in America in Wilson’s ‘Joe Turner’”, The New York Times, (...)

27 The performance of actions without verbalization is one central way Wilson uses bodily semiotics to communicate the experience of slavery and the ways this experience informs later African-American life. In this regard, theater critic Frank Rich’s interpretation of Joe Turner’s remains one of the earliest and still one of the most insightful. Rich believes, “it is essential to grasp what the characters do not say—to decipher the history that is dramatized in images and actions beyond the reach of logical narrative”.25 A good example of such physically enacted “images and actions” in the play occurs when Loomis—physically and emotionally traumatized by seven years on a work gang—experiences a vision and collapses in a wordless fit near the end of Act 1. A similar communication through physical actions appears in the long scene of masked pantomime in Gem of the Ocean during which the young Citizen Barlow, the ancestor of slaves, spiritually experiences the history of slavery in the New World. As described in Wilson’s stage directions: “Masked Solly and masked Eli seize him [...] They symbolically brand and symbolically whip Citizen, then throw him into the hull of the boat” (Wilson 2006: 67). It is subsequently significant that the “reborn” Citizen brings the curtain down on the play by exiting—as Wilson specifically indicates— “Without a word” to embark on a new life, it is implied, helping blacks in the Jim Crow South. Both Herald Loomis and Citizen Barlow are redeemed by physical action, by performances with deep spiritual power, rather than by language.

  • 26 Pereira offers a brilliant and creative reading of this scene in terms of its staging and visual di (...)
  • 27 Levine, Lawrence W., Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought From Slavery (...)

28Dancing is another form of non-verbal and physical expression presented in Wilson’s plays that provides access to methods of signification in which all blacks can participate regardless of literacy. The most famous example of this signifying performance is the Juba dancing scene in Joe Turner, described in the stage directions as “reminiscent of the Ring Shouts of the African slaves” (Wilson 1988: 53).26 Wilson refined his dramatic staging of African-American dance in the later The Piano Lesson when he constructed the performance of a work song from a Mississippi penitentiary— “Berta”— by all the major male characters of the play. The four men, representing two generations, “stamp and clap to keep time [...] in harmony with great fervor and style” (Wilson 1990: 39). The design of this performance closely mirrors Samuel A. Floyd’s description of “testifying” ring shouts, a mode of African-American dance Floyd calls “almost purely African, with continuous stamping and clapping accompanying a short, repeated melody” (Floyd 1995: 43). Through this work song, we see even see echoes of the “Dance, Drum, and Song” triad Floyd commonly identifies as central to traditional African communal rituals; Wilson thus selects distinctively non-Western modes of expression to dramatize the African-American experience of bondage (Floyd 1995: 50). Most immediately, Wilson communicates to the audience the characters’ common experience of incarceration, a history of forced labor paralleling slavery. This dance re-enacts for the audience not only slaves’ ring shouts but also the work songs invented first by slaves and later by African-American chain gangs to regulate the performance of their tasks. Furthermore, in the closely regulated physical action of harmonizing their steps, along with the accompanying song’s fixed repetitions, the men’s dance represents the confinement of shackled African Americans as a communal ritual. Through the twentieth-century work song, one of the most direct musical legacies of antebellum slave culture, African-American workers “sought,” as Lawrence W. Levine observes, “a shared remedy for a common plight” while “their white counterparts... [worked] in silence”.27 It is therefore worth noting that Wilson rejected the practice of “color-blind casting” with the assertion that African Americans’ bodies were capable of uniquely representing African-American culture; “Our manners [...] our gestures [...] and our bodies” must not be assimilated into white theater, he claimed (Wilson “Ground” 1998: 499).

  • 28 Stuckey, Sterling, Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America (New York (...)

29The juba dancing and ring shouts of African-American slaves were, according to Samuel A. Floyd, crucial means by which slaves in America maintained a “continuity” of culture and spiritual beliefs between Africa and the New World and “reaffirmed community, discipline, [and] identity” among their present social relations (Floyd 1995: 39). Sterling Stuckey contends that much of slaves’ religious beliefs, cultural expressions, and musical creations were inextricably tied to non-literate, physical activities, “to particular configurations of dance and dance rhythm” and “ritual performance”.28 By incorporating this dance and music into his drama, therefore, August Wilson maintains the African cultural “continuity” Floyd identifies into the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, using distinctively African-American means to link his dramatic works historically to antebellum American slavery and, further, to an African past.

  • 29 It was also during this period of the 1960s, we should recall, that interest in antebellum slave na (...)

30Why do we find August Wilson revisiting the grounds of antebellum slave narratives? It is important to appreciate that Wilson identified a strong historical continuity between the period in which slavery existed in America and his own era, a continuity so strong he at times lamented it as stagnancy. This understanding came from Wilson’s early development in the 1960s when the Black Power movement made a lasting impact on this thought. Black Power, he related, understood that race relations “had begun as master and slave and had made little progress in the three hundred and some odd years since” (Wilson “National” 1998: 484).29 When he surveyed the American dramatic scene, he saw the same racist ideas of black inferiority, as evident in the reception of black theater by the majority white culture which he termed “cultural imperialists who [...] see blacks as woefully deficient, not only in arts and letters but in the abundant gifts of humanity,” just as they did in “the 19th century” (Wilson “Ground” 1998: 496).

  • 30 Richards, Sandra L., “Yoruba Gods on the American Stage: August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone(...)

31In addition, Wilson’s views of the functions of contemporary black theater with respect to the construction of black subjectivity closely matched central functions of slave narratives. Motivated by a purpose shared by the modern black playwright, “the African in the confines of the slave quarters sought to invest his spirit with the strength of his ancestors by conceiving in his art [...] a world in which he was the [...] center” (Wilson “Ground” 1998: 495-6). This striving for self-determination through cultural, specifically literary, productions drives slave narrators and Wilson’s characters alike. The act of creating a slave narrative allowed the author to achieve larger purposes, among them determining the structure and meaning of his or her life story, achieving some public recognition, and furthering the cause of abolition. By doing so, the slave narrator (in William L. Andrews’ apt phrase) aims “to declare himself” as a singular, independent, and valuable subject. Characters like Herald Loomis follow a plot in which they achieve the same status. As Sandra L. Richards puts it, “Loomis’s experience repeats in miniature the experience of Africans in the Americas: brutally and abruptly torn from their families, these Africans have had to come to terms with why they were dehumanized and how they are to enact a new, enabling narrative”.30

32Wilson’s historical awareness of the significance of the slave past in the construction of the African-American present for individuals as well as their communities resulted in the creation of characters who follow paths which revisit the trajectory outlined by the autobiographers who composed slave narratives. Andrews points out that “Reconstructing their past lives required many ex-slaves to undergo a disquieting psychic immersion into their former selves as slaves [...] forced to relive the most psychically charged moments of his or her past” in the course of narrating the complete story of their movement from slavery to freedom (Andrews 1986: 7). In Citizen Barlow’s final decision to take up Solly Two Kings’ staff and carry on the work of the old Underground Railroad conductor, in Loomis’ vision of the slave ship which marks the commencement of his “realization” of a route to spiritual freedom, and in Berniece’s choice to call upon her slave ancestors for help in exorcising Sutter’s ghost at the conclusion of The Piano Lesson, Wilson dramatizes the continued significance as well as the power of the slave’s story.

Bibliographie

Works Cited

Andrews, William L. To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760-1865. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986.

Barrett, Lindon. “African-American Slave Narratives: Literacy, The Body, Authority”. American Literary History 7.3 (1995): 415-442.

Bibb, Henry. Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave. 1850. New Hampshire: Ayer Company Publishers, Inc., 1991.

Boan, Devon. “Call-and-Response: Parallel ‘Slave Narrative’ in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson”. African American Review 32.2 (Summer 1998): 263-271.

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. 1845. New York: Penguin, 1986.

Elam, Harry J., Jr. “The Dialectics of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson”. Theatre Journal 52 (2000): 361-379.

Fishburn, Katherine. The Problem of Embodiment in Early African American Narrative. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997.

Floyd, Samuel A., Jr. The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993.

Judy, Ronald A.T. Disforming the American Canon: African-Arabic Slave Narratives and the Vernacular. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Levine, Lawrence W. Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought From Slavery to Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977; 213, 208.

Morales, Michael. “Ghosts on the Piano: August Wilson and the Representation of Black American History”, in May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson. Alan Nadel, ed. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1994.

Nadel, Alan. “Boundaries, Logistics, and Identity: The Property of Metaphor in Fences and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”, in May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson. Alan Nadel, ed. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1994.

Pennington, James W.C. The Fugitive Blacksmith, or Events in the History of James W.C. Pennington. 1849. Great Slave Narratives. Arna Bontemps, ed. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969.

Pereira, Kim. August Wilson and the African-American Odyssey. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995.

Rich, Frank. “Panoramic History of Blacks in America in Wilson’s ‘Joe Turner.’” The New York Times 28 Mar 1988 Section C: 15.

Richards, Sandra L. “Yoruba Gods on the American Stage: August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”. Research in African Literatures 30.4 (Winter 1999): 92-105.

Spillers, Hortense. “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book”. Diacritics 17.2 (Summer 1987): 65-81.

Stuckey, Sterling. Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Wilson, August. “Characters behind History Teach Wilson about Plays”. New York Times. 12 Apr 1992, sec. H: 5.

Wilson, August. Gem of the Ocean. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2006.

Wilson, August. “The Ground on Which I Stand”. Callaloo 20.3 (1998): 493-503.

Wilson, August. Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. New York: Plume, 1988.

Wilson, August. “National Black Theater Festival, 1997”. Callaloo 20.3 (1998): 483-492.

Wilson, August. The Piano Lesson. New York: Plume, 1990.

Wood, Jacqueline. “Enacting Texts: African American Drama, Politics, and Presentation in the African American Literature Classroom”. College Literature 32.1 (Winter 2005): 103-126.

Notes

1 Elam, Harry J. Jr., “The Dialectics of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson”, Theatre Journal 52 (2000): 374.

2 Wilson, August, “Characters behind History Teach Wilson about Plays”, New York Times 12 Apr 1992, sec. H: 5.

3 Harry Elam observes with respect to The Piano Lesson, “the legacies of Africa and of African chattel slavery in America enter the narrative not as idealized subjects, but as elements that play a constitutive role within the African American present” (Elam 2000: 363).

4 Wilson, August, “The Ground on Which I Stand”, Callalloo 20.3 (1998): 495.

5 Wilson, August, “National Black Theater Festival, 1997”, Callaloo 20.3 (1998): 484.
Devon Boan is one of the few scholars to equate an August Wilson play with the genre of the slave narrative explicitly. Considering The Piano Lesson, Boan sees the piano’s history as “the family’s slave narrative” and contends that because “the events of [Boy Willie’s] own life constitute, in his mind, a second, metaphorical, enslavement [...] the play itself comes to constitute a broader, metaphorical slave narrative”. Boan, Devon, “Call-and-Response: Parallel ‘Slave Narrative’ in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson”, African American Review 32.2 (Summer 1998): 264.

6 Probably the least known of the three, the Reverend James W.C. Pennington was the first African American to earn a doctoral degree from a European university (University of Heidelberg) and the author of what is believed to be the first book of black history by an African-American writer, published in 1841.

7 Wilson, August, Gem of the Ocean (New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2006): 15.
For historical background on increasing violence against Southern blacks in the first years of the twentieth century, see Franklin, John Hope, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans. 7th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 1994), and Shaprio, Herbert, White VIolence and Black Response: from Reconstruction to Montgomery (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988).

8 Wilson, August, The Piano Lesson (New York: Plume, 1990): 37.

9 Pennington, James W.C., The Fugitive Blacksmith, or Events in the History of James W.C. Pennington. Great Slave Narratives, Arna Bontemps, ed. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969): 228.

10 Wilson, August, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (New York: Plume, 1988): 13- 14.

11 Similarly, Devon Boan refers to Sutter’s Ghost as “a sort of spiritual slave catcher” sent after Boy Willie (Boan 1998: 268).

12 Douglass, Frederick, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (New York: Penguin, 1986): 67.

13 Bibb, Henry, Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave (New Hampshire: Ayer Company Publishers, Inc., 1991): 163.

14 This signification of Loomis might seem contradictory, given Loomis’ critique of Christianity. In reading Loomis’ characterization symbolically, however, we must differentiate between Christian beliefs and the “hypocritical” institution of racist Southern Christianity, a key differentiation Douglass makes in the Appendix to his 1845 Narrative (Douglass 1986: 153ff).

15 Gilroy, Paul, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993).

16 Jeremy Furlow experiences a similar form of economic exploitation of black migrants in Joe Turner’s: “they fired me. White fellow come by told me to give him fifty cents if I wanted to keep working. Going around to all the colored making them give him fifty cents to keep hold to their jobs” (Wilson 1988: 64).

17 Wood, Jacqueline, “Enacting Texts: African American Drama, Politics, and Presentation in the African American Literature Classroom”, College Literature 32.1 (Winter 2005): 106; Andrews, William L., To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760-1865 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986): 3-7.

18 Alan Nadel also recognizes that “Wilson exposes the ways that black Americans have lived outside of the governing metanarratives of white Western culture”. Nadel, Alan, “Boundaries, Logistics, and Identity: The Property of Metaphor in Fences and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”, May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson, Alan Nadel, ed. (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1994): 102.

19 Judy, Ronald A.T., Disforming the American Canon: African-Arabic Slave Narratives and the Vernacular (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993): 155; Andrews 1986: 7.

20 See, for example: Pereira, Kim, August Wilson and the African-American Odyssey (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995): 61ff; Gussow, Adam, “Where is the Love?: Racial Violence, Racial Healing, and Blues Communities”, Southern Cultures 12.4 (Winter 2006): 33-54; Morales, Donald M., “The Pervasive Force of Music in African, Caribbean, and African American Drama”, Research in African Literatures 34.2 (Summer 2003): 145-154; and Elam, Harry J., The Past as Present in the Drama of August Wilson (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004). Samuel Floyd emphasizes that “instrumental blues spoke a musical code decipherable by knowers of the culture but inaccessible to those outside it”, Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995): 78.

21 Morales, Michael, “Ghosts on the Piano: August Wilson and the Representation of Black American History,” in May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson, Alan Nadel, ed. (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1994): 107, 106.

22 Barrett, Lindon, “African-American Slave Narratives: Literacy, The Body, Authority,” American Literary History 7.3 (1995): 419. Specifically, Barrett provides detailed readings of James L. Smith’s, Frederick Douglass’, and William and Ellen Craft’s narratives.

23 Fishburn, Katherine, The Problem of Embodiment in Early African American Narrative (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997).

24 Spillers, Hortense, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” Diacritics 17.2 (Summer 1987): 67.

25 Rich, Frank, “Panoramic History of Blacks in America in Wilson’s ‘Joe Turner’”, The New York Times, 28 Mar 1988 Section C: 15.

26 Pereira offers a brilliant and creative reading of this scene in terms of its staging and visual display as a form of non-verbal signification for the other characters in the scene as well as the audience (Pereira 1995: 113, n.10).

27 Levine, Lawrence W., Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought From Slavery to Freedom (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977): 213, 208.

28 Stuckey, Sterling, Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987): 27.

29 It was also during this period of the 1960s, we should recall, that interest in antebellum slave narratives was revived by the socio-political advances of African Americans, resulting in the republication, and therefore increased availability, of the texts we enjoy access to today.

30 Richards, Sandra L., “Yoruba Gods on the American Stage: August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”, Research in African Literatures 30.4 (Winter 1999): 96.

Auteur

Irvine Valley College

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