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“Fences” a Play by August Wilson


One of the main themes in The Fences is the theme of parenting. Both Troy’s and Bono’s sad recalls offering background for considering the similarities and dissimilarities of the generations unraveling Troy from Cory and Bono from Lyons. The one feature Troy appreciated was a sense of accountability, and, just like his father, Troy became the main source of income for his family.

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Bono, on the contrary, defines his father as having a state that did not let his father stay with one woman for too long. Because of Bono’s father untrustworthy nature, Bono wanted to indemnify he would not leave a child like his father. But, divergent to Bono’s doubts, his father’s character was not a family characteristic, but an attempt to deal with his specific situation. Lyons and Cory had very dissimilar childhoods, however, their growth into men is similar to their fathers’.

Lyons was growing up with his mother because Troy was incarcerated. Lyons believes he can make his own life choices and chase his own dreams in music because he had more family backing and fewer lacks than Troy. Troy was not able to shape Lyons into an accountable man because he was not around when the latter was growing up. To Troy and Cory, becoming a man means leaving the man that raised you on the account of a ferocious struggle. For both Troy and Cory, the formation of their own individuality when their role model is a person of contrast – part accountable and faithful, opposed by the upsetting, self-centered and insulting side, demonstrates a problematic situation, where none of them wanted to be the type of father who threatens their children’s wellbeing.


Much of the struggle in the Fences rises because the characters are in conflict with the way they perceive the past and what they wish to do with the future. For instance, the way that Troy sees Cory’s future because of his past experience. Troy does not want Cory to feel the adversity and disenchantment Troy felt when trying to become a professional baseball player, so he wanted Cory to work after school as an alternative to playing football.

But Cory knows that the rejection because of the color of the skin is a thing of the past, and he knows that the opportunity is real that the professional league will embrace, not ignore him. For Troy, to admit this transformation in the world would result in Troy accepting the expiry of his own dreams. Troy refuses to see Cory’s opportunities because it would mean accepting his own hard-luck (Wilson 15). The father and the son see history in a mode that supports their worldview.

Regrettably, this battle pushes Troy and Cory away from each other. Troy does not mean any harm to his son when he wants him to work after school, but by trying to protect Cory, Troy kills his son’s potential and averts Cory from walking down the path of a hopeful future. Troy’s discernment of what is good and what is bad unfortunately causes Cory to experience an unsatisfactory fortune comparable to Troy’s. Troy reflects his own history on his close ones in other ways during the play with axioms that represent his viewpoints of lifelike, “You gotta take the crooked with the straights.” Cory even calls his dad a shadow that followed him everywhere.

Troy’s tunes and mottos connect his relatives to the hard life in the south that his peer group was able to escape from, though poor and with no ancestry in the north. Troy decisively and unintentionally imposes his life experience onto his children and family, for better and for worse.

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Another topic of the play is Troy’s and Rose’s opposing methods to live their quiet lives. Their picks unswervingly resemble the contradictory perspectives from which they observe their common world. Nevertheless, Rose and Troy cope with their foiling and dissatisfaction with their entangled lives in two different ways. Troy shows through his story about his combat with Death that he is a visionary and an advocate of his own self-formed delusions.

From Troy’s point of view, his fight with Death was an authentic contest with a physical being. Troy disregards Rose’s practical, truthful discernment of his competition with death. Not far ahead, Troy confesses his adultery with Alberta to Rose, explaining his behavior by stating that being with Alberta permitted him to make an impression of achievement and escape from obligations available. Troy sees his affair with Alberta as an admirable move in baseball, as an individual triumph. Rose perceives Troy’s dishonesties and trickery as an unpretentious and upfront egocentric unfaithfulness. Troy dies still devoted to unsatisfied dreams of his past while Rose is a mediator of love within her family while they deal with Troy’s quarrelsome inheritance.

Another distinguishing factor that differentiates this play from the rest of the possibly analogous plays is a truly amazing plexus of music and the sacred meaning of life. August Wilson uses the linguistics and boldness of blues tunes to motivate The Fences and its characters. A blues tune typically covers quite a few minor notes in the song and harmony. The Fences are organized to a certain degree like a blues tune.

All the characters have their own tempo and melody that Wilson plays, and he does it with mastery. Comparable to the role of recurring lines and melody of a blues refrain, the characters in The Fences demonstrate the deviations in their life and a transformed attitude toward existence by reciting situations in which they perform. For instance, Troy’s payday is the background for three acts. By emulating the circumstances in which actions in the play take place, we can detect the transformation that happens from one occurrence to the next. At first, Troy and Bono are concerned about Troy’s future and they are best friends.

Then, Troy and Bono have fun after payday because Troy won his discernment case, but Bono is more worried that Troy will destruct his life with his adulterous affair. After the next payday, Troy comes home not speaking to Bono and his close ones. In order to feel better, Troy drinks and sings. By this time, the careless days of the play’s opening scene appear to be gone far away. This is the way dramatists operate the sense of time in a play, but for The Fences specifically, the recurring events and the etymology of the play are in accordance with what Wilson calls a “blues artistry.” Troy’s tunes are gently emphasizing the blues backgrounds as the blues in The Fences joins the generations together and keeps alive the family traditions.


The Fence has not been given this particular title purely for the reason that the melodramatic action hinges sturdily on the construction of a fence in the Maxson’s yard. Moderately, the characters’ lives variate around the process of building the fence which acts as both verbatim and a metaphorical stratagem, taking on the role of the relationships that tie and disrupt in the backyard. The detail that Rose desires the fence built complements the connotation present in her character as she perceives the fence as something optimistic and compulsory to some degree.

Bono witnesses that Rose needs the fence to be built to keep in check with her nearest and dearest. To Rose, a fence is a representation of her love and her craving for a fence designates that Rose embodies love and encouragement. Troy and Cory, conversely, believe the fence is a source of strain and unenthusiastically work on finishing their fence-building mission. Bono as well as spots that to some people, fences bar the public out and shove people off.

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Bono specifies that Troy pushes Rose away from him by betraying her. Troy’s absence of pledge to finishing the fence counterparts his deficiency of obligation in his marriage. The fence looks as if it is finished only in the concluding scene of the play when Troy passes away and the family comes back together. The completeness of the fence is essentially designed to mean the strong point of the Maxson family and paradoxically the forte of the man who kept them away from each other, unintentionally, and who correspondingly brings them back together after his death.

Works Cited

Wilson, August. Fences. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2007. Print.

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