In Fences, the character of Troy Maxon initially seems like a representation of a hardworking man, a breadwinner, who gives up on his ideas of happiness and well-being to ensure that his family has financial security. However, Troy had dreams previously, with society pushing him into that niche once the Major League’s baseball team failed him, and his lack of education limited the selection of a better and more reputable job. He ends up as a sanitation department employee who collects and lifts garbage into trucks. Troy is essentially a tragic hero who sees extreme pride in his role as a breadwinner for his family even though the years of hard work make him more depressed and dissatisfied with life. Because of this, he is often incapable of giving support and love to his wife, children, and other family members.
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Troy does not change as a person throughout the play, while his depression and hypocrisy further. He is demanding that his family lives a responsible and practical life, meanwhile, he is cheating on his wife and decides to protest the discriminatory practices in his workplace. While the latter is commendable, the image of Troy as a hardworking family man shatters. The progression of Troy in Fences begins from him being a loved father and husband, but he has nothing of value to offer when it comes to relationships, which are far more important than the ability of an individual to support his family financially: “ROSE: […] but I do know he meant to do more good than he meant to do harm” (Wilson 97). Therefore, Troy does not change for the better while the perception of people around him changes for the worse.
Wilson, August. Fences. Plume, 1986.