Wine in the Wilderness Essay

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The setting of the play, Bill Jameson's partially renovated Harlem apartment, is conspicuously dominated by cultural iconography. African sculpture, wall hangings, paintings, and books on African American history signify the occupant's fashionable but vacuous preoccupation with African artifacts. An array of multicultural icons—a Chinese Buddha incense-burner, a Native American feather war helmet, a West Indian travel poster, a Mexican serape, and a Japanese fan—further objectifies Bill's vapid efforts to proclaim a political kinship with other oppressed people of color. He cannot sympathetically or psychically relate to those other cultures represented in his apartment, however, because he has failed to connect wholly with his own.

A creation of elitist, black, middle-class culture in imitation of white patriarchy, Bill is more concerned with cultural symbols than with cultural substance. The most telling indicator of his cultural insubstantiality is the exotic cluster of African symbols and associations...

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This section contains 354 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Wine in the Wilderness Study Guide
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Wine in the Wilderness from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.