Essay On FencesWe all lead lives filled with anxiety overcertain issues, and with dread of theinevitable day of our death. In this play,Fences which was written by the well knownplaywright, August Wilson, we have the storyof Troy Maxson and his family.
Fences is aboutTroy Maxson, an aggressive man who has ongoing, imaginary battle with death. His lifeis based on supporting his family well andmaking sure they have the comforts that he didnot have in his own childhood. Also,influenced by his own abusive childhood, hebecomes an abusive father who rules hisyounger son, Corys life based on his own pastexperiences. When the issue comes up of Coryhaving a bright future ahead of him if hejoins the football team, Troy refuses to allowhim. The root of this decision lies in his ownexperience of not being allowed to join thebaseball team due to the racial prejudices ofhis time.
He does not realize that times havechanged and because of his own past, he ruinshis sons life too. His wife, Rose, also playsa big part in the way the story develops. Troyhas an affair with another woman calledAlberta. When Rose finds out about the affair,she is devastated. In this situation we findout what her own hopes and dreams were. Allshe wanted was a happy home and family lifebecause of her unstable past.
The theme ofthis story is how a black family, in the latefifties to early sixties, faces the problemsthat many families are faced with, but intheir own unique ways. This theme can betraced and observed through the insecuritiesand resulting behaviors of the two maincharacters, Troy and Rose Maxson. The main character of this play, TroyMaxson, considers death to be a part of thebaseball game of life. In one part of the bookhe gives a description of how death came tohim when he was in the hospital, and he toldit to return another time. Death is one of hismain insecurities. As he gets older he feelsdeath coming closer and closer.
It seems asif, just to hold death in abeyance by tryingto feel young again, he has an affair withthis other woman named Alberta. Death strikescloser to home base for Troy, when hismistress dies while giving birth to a babygirl. At this point in the book he makes adeal with death. He says to it, Aint nobodyelse got nothing to do with this.
This isbetween you and me. Man to man. You stay onthe other side of that fence until you readyfor me. (page 77). The fence is very symbolicin this situation.
It symbolizes hisinsecurity about death and how he has put upthese imaginary fences for protection. Itleaves us with a very clear image of thisagressive man who fears nothing in life,except death. Roses childhood was also filled withuncertainity. Her father was a drifter whowent from place to place starting a new familyevery where he went, so that it got to thepoint where each of her step brothers andsisters had a different mother. This was thebasis for her insecurity and possessiveness ofher own family.
In her case also, the fencewas symbolic. It stood for her need to hold onto her husband, son, and her comfortable homelife. For both Troy and Rose, the turningpoint in their lives comes when Rose isinformed about the existence of another womanin Troys life. Even Troys friend, Bono,tries to warn Troy about the risk he is takingby seeing this other woman.
Bono tries toexplain Roses personality to Troy by saying,Some people build fences to keep peopleout. . . and other people build fences to keeppeople in.
Rose wants to hold on to you all. she loves you. (page 61). She wants to holdon to the happy and loving family life shehas, and the fence metaphorically illustratesa way of holding on. In the case of both the characters, Roseand Troy, what influences their attitudes isthe way they were in their past.
Troy wasrefused the chance to join the baseball teamin his youth, so he feels that his son alsoshould not get the opportunity. Troy wasignored by his father when he was young, soinstead of ignoring his son, Troy is overlycritical of him. He is critical to the pointof inciting an act of disrespect from Cory.Cory has reached the point where he even hasthe audacity to say .