Jitney: The Rhythms of Resilience: Community and Friendship in the Face of Economic Struggle in August Wilson's “Jitney” - August Wilson

American literature essay. Literary analysis of works and characters - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Jitney: The Rhythms of Resilience: Community and Friendship in the Face of Economic Struggle in August Wilson's “Jitney”
August Wilson

The streets of Pittsburgh in the 1970s become a stage in August Wilson's thrilling play "Jitney," where the rhythms of community and resiliency resonate amid the challenges of economic adversity. We step inside a jitney cab station, which serves as an essential lifeline for the mostly Black Hill District residents who have few other options for transportation. In the midst of hardship, a varied collection of drivers here establish friendships and support networks as they go about their everyday lives.

Wilson does a fantastic job capturing the unique voices and mannerisms of each character. The proprietor of the station, Becker, is a man who is weighed down by duty but who yet gives his drivers unflinching support. We get to know Turnbo, the seasoned driver who is a wealth of knowledge and wit. Youngblood and Booster, two younger males, stand in for the dreams and ambitions of a generation that is adjusting to less opportunities. Despite their unique situations, each character finds courage and comfort in the companionship of the jitney station as well as in their common experiences.

The drama explores the community's financial concerns. The dearth of well-paying work and the possibility of urban regeneration cast a lengthy shadow over the lives of the protagonists. Their talks are dominated by worries about their families, bills, and the uncertain future of their area. Nevertheless, there is a spirit of resiliency and persistence despite these fears.

Driving jitneys becomes into more than just a way to make a job. It is evidence of their ingenuity, a source of pride for the community, and a symbol of their independence. The drivers build a network of support via their everyday activities; they rely on one another for emotional, financial, and social support.

"Jitney," the name of the drama, refers to more than just a mode of transportation. It stands for the frantic pace of daily existence in the Hill District and the need for continual mobility and labor to live. It also serves as a metaphor for the characters' resiliency—their capacity to carry on in the face of adversity.

"Jitney" is more than just a tale of financial hardship. It's an ode to the resilience of communities and the human spirit. The characters' common experiences and the friendships they have formed provide them comfort and strength when faced with adversity. Their tale is proof of the value of a strong sense of community and the steadfast spirit of resiliency that permeates the Hill District's core.

Synopsis: In August Wilson's "Jitney," a Pittsburgh jitney taxi station in the 1970s serves as a setting where people come together and show fortitude in the face of adversity.