How Come You Ain’t Never Like Me? Identity Development in August Wilson’s ‘Fences’

Annette Teasdell, English/ History, North Mecklenburg HS

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


Within the context of August Wilson’s Fences, students will analyze and examine how identity informs social development using the lens of intersectionality theory to explore how economic, political and ideological systems of oppression are often used to justify subordination and marginalization of “other” groups within American society. Students will explore the impact of the New Racism on their growth and development as it pertains to media representations and perceived analyses of what it means to be Black (African American), to be a woman, to have a disability, and to be a young man coming of age in a society which perceives and promotes Blackness as a stigma. The Pulitzer Prize winning play Fences was written by one of America’s greatest playwrights, August Wilson in 1986 and recently debuted on screen in 2017 featuring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. This play, based on its relevance and accessibility, will serve as a vehicle to enlighten and educate students about the importance of understanding the role ideological oppression plays in social development.