Essay about Fences: When a Fence is not Merely a Fence

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August Wilson’s Fences is a powerful play that centers on Troy Maxson and the Maxson family. While Wilson’s plays are entertaining, his goal is to provide the black community a source of entertainment in which they can be proud of their history. Wilson’s Fences does that through showing the complexities of Troy Maxson. Troy is the protagonist of the play. He is at constant battle with himself over racial issues that have plagued him throughout his life. In spite of being promoted as the first black truck driver at his job, he is unable to forget how race kept him from achieving baseball fame. However, Troy is able to build a suitable life for his family. Troy is a strong character, but his personal faults end up destroying what he should …show more content…
Another of Troy’s fences represents the racial boundaries that held him back from achieving his dream as a major league baseball player. This inability to let go of his failed baseball dreams later becomes a barrier between him and his son Cory, as he denies Cory the opportunity of a football scholarship. Troy has to deal with many racial boundaries throughout his life. Even though he gets a promotion at work when he confronts them on the color of the truck drivers, Troy is unable to let go to the role that race has played in his life. He is unwilling to see that while things may not be perfect, some things have changed. Troy also views the fence as a way to prevent someone from taking what is his. He even threatens death if he crosses the fence. In the confrontation, Troy says, “Alright . . . Mr. Death. . . I’m gonna take and build me a fence around what belongs to me. And then I want you to stay on the other side” (2.2) Troy creates yet another fence when he has an affair. The affair creates a boundary with Rose and further widens the rift between Troy and Cory. In spite of all that Troy has endured through his life, the boundaries he creates within his family prevent him from truly being able to live a happy life. Unlike Troy, Rose sees the fence as a way to protect her family. However, Rose is not protecting it from people on the outside of the fence; she is trying to salvage what is on the inside of the fence. Rose sings, “Jesus, be a fence all around me”

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