Drama: Joe Turners Come and Gone Essay

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Drama: Joe Turner's Come and Gone

In the play Joe Turner's Come and Gone, by August Wilson, symbolism plays a very important part in conveying the true meaning of the story to the reader. August Wilson uses symbolism to suggest an intangible condition or truth about the characters in Joe Turner's Come and Gone, and as the story progresses each symbol accrues complexity beyond the original meaning. August Wilson's complex use of symbolism is grossly demonstrated through Mr. Wilson's use of the road, Martha Pentecost, and Herald Loomis.

Some of the first and most significant references to the road are discussed very early in the play. The character Bynum Walker is telling the story of the shiny man, and the secret of life to
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Martha changed her name when her husband Herald, an innocent man, was impressed into a chain gang by Joe Turner. Martha waited five years for Herald to return when she realized she had to pick up the pieces of her old life, and begin a knew life. Martha's changing of her name from Loomis to Pentecost represents her rebirth into the world, and the beginning of a new life. Martha tells Herald, "My whole life shattered", and she continues with, "When it go like that there ain't nothing you can do to put it back together." Martha goes on by saying, "I buried you. I mourned you. And then I picked up what was left and went on to make life without you." Not only did Martha's last name represent a rebirth of her life, but a rebirth for Herald Loomis back into the world of the living as well. During a conversation with Martha, Herald says, "Now that I see your face I can say my goodbye and make my own world." In other words, Herald is able to make peace with the past, and begin a new life without Martha. The powerful use of symbolism continues, and accrues power in the character Herald Loomis.

Herald Loomis represents one of the most powerful uses of symbolism in Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Herald Loomis's first name literally means messenger, and his last name, Loomis, often refers to the fact that Herald appear to be a magnified image of impending confrontation or of threat
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