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by August Wilson

Analysis: Writing Style

Poetic Realism

August Wilson's plays are almost always "realistic"; they have to do with everyday people in everyday situations. Almost all of his characters are black, and they speak in an African-American dialect similar to the one spoken in Wilson's native Pittsburgh. Of course, Wilson's plays also have an incredibly poetic quality to them. His characters have the ability to speak in ways that are far more heightened than you'd typically find in everyday speech. For this reason, we say the play is an example of poetic realism. Many great American playwrights wrote in a similar style: Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and Eugene O'Neill to name a few.

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