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The Power of Emotion in “Fences”

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The marriage between Troy and Rose was shown differently in Denzel Washington’s production of Fences and the 1985 original play by American playwright, August Wilson. August Wilson’s play centered around the Maxson family, the life of Troy Maxson and the decisions he made that affected his marriage and family. The Maxson marriage was depicted on the 1950’s era whereby a woman’s place was in the home. While Rose was home tending to the house and children, Troy provided for the family. Throughout the movie and play, we see how Troy’s actions and decisions affected the relationships with his friends and family. The primary relationship highlighted in both the play and movie is that of Troy and Rose and how it completely disintegrates towards the end of the story. In August Wilson’s portrayal of Rose, she is described as one that has been challenged throughout her life, but still manages to be a strong centerpiece for the family. Denzel Washington’s movie conveys the emotion, pain, and sacrifice that Rose faces throughout her marriage with Troy. These are key features that are missing in the play. The movie displays an additional layer for the reader to understand the dissolution of the marriage of Troy and Rose.

In August Wilson’s play Fences, Rose is characterized as the “housewife”. In the play, the author describes Rose as always putting her family’s needs before her own. Rose’s devotion and willingness to sacrifice is sensed. Although her loving nature is quickly recognized, her role as wife, mother and housewife, the true passion of this role was not convincingly conveyed as it was in the movie. The role of housewife was presented in Act 1, Scene 2. Stated by Rose, “Morning. You ready for breakfast? I can fix it soon as I finish hanging up these clothes”. In other words, she is portrayed as the domestic housewife who tends to her husband after doing household work such as cleaning and cooking. Rose tends to her husband without hesitation because that was who she was for so many years. The passion of who Rose was, was not conveyed in the writing of Fences. However, in the movie, Viola Davis presents the passion, devotion, love, and pain that Rose’s character truly felt. Do I talk about the scene that Troy tells her he cheated?

Reflecting on Denzel Washington’s production of Fences, the emotional portrayal of the scene of the fight between Troy and Rose, was a critical addition for a clear understanding. As Rose Maxson, Viola Davis performs a powerful performance and justifies all of her sacrifices she has made for her husband. Described in the story, Troy reveals his affair with another woman as well as his child with her. In analyzing the play Fences by August Wilson, the movie is an important way to understand the emotions behind the complex marriage of Troy and Rose. There is often a disconnect between the true emotion portrayed by the characters and the dialogue in the play. It is the words of the play that do not convey the emotion. Rose’s facial expressions help to conveyed the pain in which she is feeling. As well as her facial expressions, her body language characterized the anger she had felt towards Troy. Often her true thoughts and feelings were distorted or flat in the play but they were clear in the movie.

Rose was a very dutiful wife, who took on the role of a homemaker as any woman would have been in that time. She could have chose to be her own person, create her own identity and could have done what she wanted. But she chose to put her family and husband before her own needs. But often her true thoughts and feelings were often misconstrued in the play. Her strong presence on screen allowed the audience to make their own interpretation of Troy and Rose’s marriage. It is evident that Rose’s marriage with Troy was her entire life as well as her identity.

Reflecting on this spectacular film and the jaw dropping performance of Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, this film was powerful. The passionate emotion is important when portraying a story because it allows the audience to make a connection. Witnessing a play brought to life on the big screen was critical in my own personal analysis of the play. The actress that played Rose Maxson presented a performance that could captivate an entire room. She showed the pain, hurt, and the emotion behind what her marriage and life had put her through. Her emotional performance was a critical part of making this play come to life.

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The Power of Emotion in “Fences”. (2022, May 11). Retrieved from

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