Essay: Fences by August Wilson

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  • Subject area(s): English literature essays
  • Reading time: 2 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published on: January 16, 2020
  • File format: Text
  • Number of pages: 2
  • Fences by August Wilson
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Fences Topic Essay

Fences, a play written by August Wilson examines Troy Maxson’s development as a character, husband, and father stemming from his traumatic transition from childhood into adulthood, being stripped away from adolescence effectively putting him in a place filled with complacency coming from the oppression of his times and infecting the lives of those who surround and live off of him. Eventually ruining his most prized relationship of all. The vicious cycle continues with updated instances.

Troy Maxson had quite the unique relationship with his his parents, one that he could not overcome the influence of despite his reluctance of becoming the one person who he feared the most. Troy resembles his father when dealing with his son, Cory. Cory’s wings are clipped as his father refuses to sign his name onto a document, which he believes will destroy his future and potential. “He ought to go and get recruited in how to fix cars or something where he can make a living.” (Pg. 8) Troy has his head stuck in one place. He doesn’t feel it’s safe to gamble away life for some temporary game that Cory would be playing for. Safety is all Troy seeks, as is shown in his conversation with Rose, “I just say it’s foolish. Trying to guess out of six hundred way me which way the number gonna come” (pg 22). He feels that he is stuck searching for a way to stray from death as it is the only thing left for him to fear. He couldn’t find safety from his own parents when he was a child and was forced to jump into adulthood with no site of of anything being certain, he finds a sense of safety in his complacent lifestyle letting the oppression that he had dealt with rule over him, only because it has not killed him and it has supplied him.

Troy is not at all that simple. He is not a man that lets his complacency get a hold of him, at least not without trying. Which is something that he drastically struggles with, leading him to decisions that are truly heartbreaking, even further making his resemblance to his father more apparent. Troy finally gets tired of being stuck to first base and waits his whole life for that one opportunity to steal second. Something that becomes a difficult task to do so as he tries to explain to Bono, claiming that he has no control over Roberta. His refusal to keep being stuck in the same place prevails. But unfortunately in such a way that it hurts his wife. “It’s just she gives me a different idea… I can just be a part of myself that I ain’t ever been.” He feels as if he finds something that in his his life it was stripped away from him. Something that he intrinsically longed for as the years passed of a routine that he was chained to. But his liberation brings him further into his own demise and of his eighteen year relationship with his wife. An egocentric and greedy act in the eyes of the characters, but one that he truly had mistaken for being something else.

Troy Maxson’s tragic cycle of complacency and deterioration of relationships and drives ulimatey brings him and the others around him into peril and deterioration of misconstrued sense of love. Showing that he could not truly overcome the obstacle and struggles brought into him by his own parents.

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