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    August Wilson’s “Fences” Analysis

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    August Wilson’s Fences is a fascinating play that revolves around the main character, Troy Maxson. Other characters in the play include Cory Maxson, Bono, Rose Maxson, Lyons, and Gabriel. Wilson focuses the play on the family of Troy. Troy hurts people who are close to him including his family members. For instance, he fights with Cory, his son, and cheats on his wife, Rose (Wattley 51). There are numerous problems that Troy, his family, and friends face, and the problems center on fences, responsibility, and death. The fences theme, for instance, is significant in the play since it symbolizes diverse actions like keeping a person in and out. Importantly, the primary motivation of Wilson to write the play is to portray how the African Americans struggled to survive and compete with the whites in the 1950s. The use of symbols and metaphors has also made the play interesting and facilitated its easier understanding.

    Therefore, the paper presents a comprehensive literary analysis of Fences. First, the introduction of the play is amazing since it captures the attention of the audience to relate the actions in the drama to the welfare of the blacks during the 1950s. The play shows economic and social problems that the African Americans faced several decades ago. For instance, the whites looked down upon the blacks as individuals of low lives who only migrated to America to seek aid. Besides, the African Americans did hectic jobs that were low paying, unlike the white who mainly worked in the offices. For instance, Troy is unhappy of doing a dirty job of collecting garbage yet he has the capability of doing more decent jobs. Wilson is trying to inform the readers that in the 1950s, the African Americans did odd jobs as the standard jobs were for the Caucasians. The African Americans migrated from the South to North to seek for a good life, and this evident when Troy recalls his childhood experiences when he moved to the North with the father (Elam 93). The decision of Troy to ask why the blacks do not get the opportunity of driving trash trucks, make the audience realize that Troy aired the grievances of the blacks. Therefore, the author introduces the plight or welfare of African Americans so that the viewers can understand and relate the happenings to the play, hence, making the drama appeal to the emotions of the audience. Next, there is sufficient application of logos in the play through the utilization of symbols to convince the audience about the actions in the drama. The fence, for example, symbolizes vital things in the story. First, it symbolizes the alienation or racial differences between the whites and the blacks.

    Wilson uses fences to show how the whites were on their side while the blacks were also secluded in their own location. Through the fence, the audience can understand that whites and the blacks could not interact easily and the only connection was through work whereby the African Americans worked as subjects. Moreover, the fence represents the affair that Troy had with Alberta without the knowledge of the family. Unknowingly, Rose requested Troy to build the fence, and the purpose of building the fence was to symbolically hold the family from breaking. However, Troy did not participate fully in building the fence, which shows that he no longer loved Rose (Wattley 19). In this case, the fence symbolizes his failure to love and take care of the family. Therefore, the use of the fence as a symbol makes the readers more engrossed in the play.Additionally, the use of metaphors in the play is plausible as it enables viewers to comprehend the activities of the characters and understand their life experiences such as failure. The metaphor that enthralls me most in the play is the baseball game. Troy uses the baseball game as a representation of his life. He had failed in a baseball game, which was a professional league (Wilson 71). Troy’s references to the baseball game show the failures he has encountered in his life including the animosity or the poor relationship between him and the family. His failure in the baseball game depicts how he has failed in life. He can only have a settled mind through interacting and having an affair with Alberta, which makes him forget the failures.

    Therefore, Wilson’s application of the baseball and the fence as metaphor and symbol respectively connects all the actions in the play from the start to the end, thus, making the drama great. The symbols and metaphors make one realize the struggles and failures that the blacks were facing in the 1950s. Finally, there is proper characterization in the play as each character play distinct roles that makes the drama stimulating. Rose, for example, is a critical character in Fences as she embodies a true depiction of a black woman. Her actions and deeds make the play exciting and one would never stop watching it to the end. Despite Troy having an affair with Alberta, Rose does not quit the marriage and she is determined to keep the family together (Wilson 51). The strong personality of Rose is so encouraging that anyone would yearn to have a woman of that type. Unlike in the current society where women are ready to divorce their husband without giving them time to change, Rose decides not to leave for the sake of her family. As the play continues, Alberta dies and Troy decides to bring home her daughter, Raynell. Rose receives the daughter warmly and states that Raynell has found a mother. Hence, her decision to accept a baby who is not her own shows how strong she is. Therefore, Wilson portrays Rose in this manner to show how African American women were strong and never gave up on their families regardless of the hurdles they were facing. Upon watching Fences, I admired the traits of Rose and her determination to stand for everybody.

    Conclusively, in my view, Fences is an interesting play that no literature student should miss. Any person interested in knowing the use of literary elements in a play must watch Fences as it contains crucial facets such as symbolism, metaphors, and characterization. Besides, the accuracy and precision of the play amaze me a lot since all the activities and actions are actual events that occurred in the 1950s among the African Americans. Several decades ago, there were racial tensions between the blacks and whites in various societal and economic sectors including jobs, and that is evident in the play when Troy asks why the African Americans cannot drive trash tracks. The fence is symbolic of the entire drama, and it portrays seclusion of people through racial inequality. Therefore, the play is thrilling and worth watching.

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    August Wilson’s “Fences” Analysis. (2021, Nov 15). Retrieved from

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