Fences Research Paper

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Lives are lead with anxiety over certain issues and with apprehension towards certain events. This play, Fences written by the playwright August Wilson deals with the progression of a family through the struggles of oppression and the inability to obtain the American Dream. The characters in the play develop throughout the story and can be viewed or interpreted in many different ways, but one man remains constant during the play and that is Troy. Due to certain events that transpired as he was growing up, Troy is shaped into a very stubborn yet proud man. To be a man who was black and proud ran the risk of getting destroyed, both physically and mentally. The world of the 1950s and 60s was rapidly changing and grew strange to Troy as he was living in a place that he understood less and less each day. Troy grows bitter through his misconceptions of the world and lives a life devoted to everything other than his family. As a result of racism Troy is unable to acquire his American Dream of becoming a baseball player, which results in his extreme bitterness that negatively impacts his family relationships and makes him deeply aware of his mortality.

Troy’s dreams are thwarted due to accounts of racism that occur in his life and he refuses to acknowledge that any racial progress has been made. Although he is constantly told he is too old to play baseball, Troy sees it in different way. To Troy ability has nothing to do with age, he believes the single reason for him not making it in the major leagues is racism. Troy’s longings to become a baseball player are obstructed by oppression and discrimination. Like many black athletes, Troy was not given the same opportunities as white people were, which strengthened his already adamant view toward the idea of one’s skill vs. the color of one’s skin “I’m talking about if you could play ball then they ought to have let you play. Don’t care what color you were” (Wilson 18). Troy gets frustrated with the blatant racism that keeps him from playing in the Major Leagues. Troy feels as though he was robbed of a professional career in baseball strictly because of his race, the racial barrier constantly overshadows him and his family and has over time made him a bitter man. In an effort to help the reader understand Troy’s feelings toward his failure, Wilson writes as Troy “Don’t come telling me I was too old. I Just wasn’t the right color” (Wilson 39). Although not specifically quoted by Troy, he has been worn down due to constant oppression and has been changed into a man whom he did not aspire to be like; his father. Troy’s animosity towards black people not getting equal opportunities as white people affects his ideals as a father and jeopardizes the future of his family. Troy’s story isn’t particularly special in this era, it was very common for racism and oppression to meddle and change peoples lives. Not specific to baseball but in general life, many things were completely segregated as explained by Kim Pereira “Wilson used the fence and baseball to tell this story. It was not just a story of a life perceived as a failure, but a look into the minds and thoughts of an African American in the 1950’s” (Pereira 47). Very few people before the civil rights movements in the 1960’s were acting out against racism, and many black people accepted this and began to believe that they were in fact, the inferior race. Troy cannot see the clear racial progress that has been made since he played baseball. As life progressed since Troy had faced oppression during his early years, he found it difficult to accept that things had changed. Troy’s racial arrogance is shown as he talks to Cory about baseball players not playing because of where they are from ““Got that boy… Puerto Rican boy… Clemente. Don’t even half-play him” “He gets lots of chances to play”” (Wilson 59). Troy clearly believes that people are still not given opportunities to play or excel in something because...
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