“Fences” 1985 written by August Wilson is a very interesting work illustrating the potential effects of inner conflicts originating from cyclic generational poverty African American culture. “Fences”, originally a playwright that is centered on Troy Maxson a formerly young Negro Baseball player, the dreamer, now a matured sanitation worker of Pittsburgh in the 1950’s. Troy has grown into a bitter, entitled, angry man who normalizes conflict as a result of his ability to believe in his physiological induced illusions and his inability to agree with other’s choices in life that may deviate from his own philosophy. Although Troy is a very flawed individual his character represents the African American struggle, before the Civil Right Movements. Fences, represents inequality and the psychological mental barriers many African Americans faces before social reforms. As the Black political issues are prevalent in today’s society the importance of “Fences “, 2016 film adaptation, which was created after the death of author Wilson, continuingly explains the importance of understanding such attitudes aiding social reform. Within both mediums Wilson’s point of view of the African American experience, through strong characterization explores reoccurring themes such as race, death, maturation and finally social identity Conversely, “Fences”, film adaptation illuminates such themes through the use of literary devices such as alternative settings, song, imagery, and tone. While the film offers an on-par language, which mimics Wilson’s original playwright it also gives. of the play, “Fences” holds its appeal with its contemporary audience.
Illustrating the oppressions of the African American workers within this time, while fueling Troy’s negative character traits. Wilson introduces dialogue between Troy Maxson and close friend Bono that luminates racial conflicts of this era with him stating, “Why you got white men’s driving and the colored lifting?” also, ‘You think only white fellows got sense enough to drive a truck. That aint no paper job!”. This shows the inequalities, between these two different socioeconomical groups. Troy is clearly not happy with his occupation as a sanitization worker and believes he is treated differently. This opening dialogue was very similar in both play and movie, displaying the friendship between Bono and Troy. The film was able to transform this scene and really grasp the frustrations of the character, whilst showing Troy as his past self, the dreamer. The dreamer could believe to be Troy’s phycological manifestation of his past self, or what he could have become. Troy’s character often creates physiological disillusions, whereas he usually is fighting his personified interpretation of death.
Often, Troy personifies his dealing with Death mostly through his dramatic monologues, whereas he is constantly struggling with death. Rose the wife of Troy usually debunks his attempts to personify Death, usually taunting him stating that he is lying. Early within Fences, Troy begins in one of his rants, “Death ain’t nothing. I done seen him. Done wrassled with him. You can’t tell me nothing about death”, “Death ain’t nothing but a fastball on the outside corner.” Troy, dramatically explains, this is one of many struggles he has with Death. In the end, Troy loses his struggle with his personified version of Death resulting in his own death. Death is a reoccurring theme throughout Fences, which may lead one to believe Troy Maxson’s character had a terminal illness. The bitter, entitled, angry man Troy has groomed himself to be may have been a result of his past experiences or an undiagnosed terminal illness. Fences, the film adaptation brings better visual proof of supporting this analysis. Within the film there is heavy emphasis on Troy’s affinity for alcohol, which may contribute to an undiagnosed illness. Fences seems to view death as negative, yet inevitable
Unlike Troy, Rose Maxson is a fair and loving person with a strong sense of family. She loves her family, therefore tolerates most of Troy’s antics throughout their marriage and for the sake of their son’s psychological development. These physiological fences, Troy has employed, has created conflicts with the people close to him. Wilson explores the theme of maturation within Rose’s character, stemming from the fact Troy has committed adulterous acts within his marriage. Rose’s inability to handle any more hurt from her husband, after his adulterous confession allows the character to stand up for herself. She expressed, “I gave eighteen years of my life to stand in the same spot with you. Don’t you think I ever wanted other things? Don’t you think I had dreams and hopes? What about my life.” Further Rose says, “I took all my feelings, my wants and needs, my dreams and buried them inside you”. In this scene the audience was able to witness Rose’s character reaching her breaking point, thus leading to her maturation. After World War II this was a period of conformity, both men and women observed strict gender roles, regardless of race. Wilson’s interpretation of Rose gives a contrasting view of women and displays the strength in women of this era. Rose’s character interpreted by award winning actress Viola Davis, sets the tone by displaying the characters raw emotions. For an example in this scene her slow rising cadence and tears all while acting her indignations brought the characters emotions to life.
In the same way Troy’s inner physiological conflicts affect his wife, they’re also extended to his youngest son. Cory Maxson is a respectable and hardworking teenager who gets good grades in school. Cory emerging away from his perceived social identity wants to explore a possible professional football career. He has recently quit his service job to have more time for sports. Troy externalizes his own negative feelings for the sport and is very disproving of this idea. The harder Cory works to excel in life from his predisposed position, the lower the affection from his father becomes. Again, this shows Troy’s negativity and a possible jealousy that his son may have the opportunity to play professionally based on his own merit, whereas he didn’t base on the racial injustices of his era.