Take Radio Golf and relate it to Gem of the Ocean. How does it build upon and wrap up the cycle in terms of how everything began? How do these two plays relate to each other (historical forces,...

Take Radio Golf and relate it to Gem of the Ocean. How does it build upon and wrap up the cycle in terms of how everything began? How do these two plays relate to each other (historical forces, issues, relationships, themes)?

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Natalie Saaris | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Radio Golf and Gem of the Ocean are the last two plays in August Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle, a series of ten plays that deal with the lives of African Americans in twentieth-century America. They build upon similar themes that run through the other plays of the cycle. I will develop one of these here.

Historical Forces: The past haunts the characters in both these plays. In Gem of the Ocean, Citizen confronts his ancestors during his spiritual journey to the City of Bones. Going back in time allows Citizen to understand the crime he has committed in accusing an innocent man of his own murder. Aunt Ester is another bridge to the past: her age (287 years) connects the present to the past experience of African Americans in slavery. As for Radio Golf, the past manifests in the ghosts of deceased and absent figures who linger in the characters' memory, including the dead Aunt Ester (from Gem of the Ocean) who continues to influence Old Joe.

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