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Joe Turner’s Come and Gone: Bynum Walker Analytical Essay


Joe Turner’s Come and Gone is an America play by August Wilson that chronicles the confrontations and fights of African Americans in the twentieth century. While dealing with the themes of racial discrimination, identity, and migration, the play also focuses on separate characters who are concerned with their searching for self-recognition and connection.

The themes of slavery and inequality, as well as protection of human rights, are brightly illustrated through Bynum Walker, one of the main heroes, a freed slave originating from the South and living at the Holly’s house.

Because Walker is a “conjure”, he is engaged with voodoo activities, which also indicates his affiliation to the African identity. In fact, Bynum Walker is a multi-faceted character that is considered as a mysterious personality who is endowed with unusual qualities.

The idea of identity and connection is explicitly represented through Walker’s portrayal in the play. He is among few protagonists who feel comfortable with his origins and who understand the importance of sustaining his identity. Therefore, the hero personifies the individuals’ constant searching for identity, as well as his aspiration to maintain traditions and customs from the past.

The actual representation of identity issues is also shown through depiction of some mysterious events, such as Bynum’s stories about inner song and shining man. By implementing this style of narration, Bynum prefers using the wisdom of previous generations in treating the surrounding world. His strong commitment to spiritual and historical heritage points to his full reliance on his ethnicity and identity.

The heron evident connection with the African heritage also reveals the theme of racial discrimination and identity. Bynum is described as a wise person in his sixties who has lived enough to realize his goals in life. Although the former slave had been separated from his origins, he still remembers of previous times, his roots and whom he was.

Understanding the flashbacks from the past allows Bynum to live the present life and shape certain values and opinions about people surrounding him. Therefore, he criticizes most of the African Americans, who ignore their heritage and who prefer living in accordance with the principles accepted in white society.

In the play, Bynum often refers to music that plays an important force facilitating the hero’s affiliation to the identity. Therefore, the hero often sings songs that characterize his attitude to the history of African slaves. In addition, Bynum’s singing through the play provides a clear picture of his spiritual and cultural relationship with his African heritage.

His signing, therefore, is attributed to his rich experience and wisdom; he seems to know African songs for all characters and occasions. By performing his songs, the hero emphasizes his strong commitment to the traditions and cultures he preserves.

In conclusion, Bynum walker is a form African slave who has been liberated. Despite his human rights are protected now, the hero still relies on his cultural and historic roots to sustain his identity. In addition, the hero pays much attention to the African songs that also constitute an inherent component of cultural heritage.

In such a manner, Bynum calls for retaining the wisdom and traditions of previous generation because they belong to one identity. Therefore, song symbolizes the sense of identity and connection of the protagonists of the play and defines their affiliation to the history ancestry.

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IvyPanda. (2019, June 3). Joe Turner’s Come and Gone: Bynum Walker. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/joe-turners-come-and-gone-bynum-walker/

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"Joe Turner’s Come and Gone: Bynum Walker." IvyPanda, 3 June 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/joe-turners-come-and-gone-bynum-walker/.

1. IvyPanda. "Joe Turner’s Come and Gone: Bynum Walker." June 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/joe-turners-come-and-gone-bynum-walker/.


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IvyPanda. "Joe Turner’s Come and Gone: Bynum Walker." June 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/joe-turners-come-and-gone-bynum-walker/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Joe Turner’s Come and Gone: Bynum Walker." June 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/joe-turners-come-and-gone-bynum-walker/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Joe Turner’s Come and Gone: Bynum Walker'. 3 June.

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