Paper on the Book, Fences

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Essay On Fences

We all lead lives filled with anxiety over

certain issues, and with dread of the

inevitable day of our death. In this play,

Fences which was written by the well known

playwright, August Wilson, we have the story

of Troy Maxson and his family. Fences is about

Troy Maxson, an aggressive man who has on

going, imaginary battle with death. His life

is based on supporting his family well and

making sure they have the comforts that he did

not have in his own childhood. Also,

influenced by his own abusive childhood, he

becomes an abusive father who rules his

younger son, Cory's life based on his own past

experiences. When the issue comes up of Cory

having a bright future ahead of him if he

joins the football team, Troy refuses to allow

him. The root of this decision lies in his own

experience of not being allowed to join the

baseball team due to the racial prejudices of

his time. He does not realize that times have

changed and because of his own past, he ruins

his son's life too. His wife, Rose, also plays

a big part in the way the story develops. Troy

has an affair with another woman called

Alberta. When Rose finds out about the affair,

she is devastated. In this situation we find

out what her own hopes and dreams were. All

she wanted was a happy home and family life

because of her unstable past. The theme of

this story is how a black family, in the late

fifties to early sixties, faces the problems

that many families are faced with, but in

their own unique ways. This theme can be

traced and observed through the insecurities

and resulting behaviors of the two main

characters, Troy and Rose Maxson.

The main character of this play, Troy

Maxson, considers death to be a part of the

baseball game of life. In one part of the book

he gives a description of how death came to

him when he was in the hospital, and he told

it to return another time. Death is one of his

main insecurities. As he gets older he feels

death coming closer and closer. It seems as

if, just to hold death in abeyance by trying

to feel young again, he has an affair with

this other woman named Alberta. Death strikes

closer to home base for Troy, when his

mistress dies while giving birth to a baby

girl. At this point in the book he makes a

deal with death. He says to it, " Ain't nobody

else got nothing to do with this. This is

between you and me. Man to man. You stay on

the other side of that fence until you ready

for me." (page 77). The fence is very symbolic

in this situation. It symbolizes his

insecurity about death and how he has put up

these imaginary fences for protection. It

leaves us with a very clear image of this

agressive man who fears nothing in life,

except death.

Rose's childhood was also filled with

uncertainity. Her father was a drifter who

went from place to place starting a new family

every where he went, so that it got to the

point where each of her step brothers and

sisters had a different mother. This was the

basis for her insecurity and possessiveness of

her own family. In her case also, the fence

was symbolic. It stood for her need to hold on

to her husband, son, and her comfortable home

life. For both Troy and Rose, the turning

point in their lives comes when Rose is

informed about the existence of another woman

in Troy's life. Even Troy's friend, Bono,

tries to warn Troy about the risk he is taking

by seeing this other woman. Bono tries to

explain Rose's personality to Troy by saying,

"Some people build fences to keep people

out...and other people build fences to keep

people in. Rose wants to hold on to you all.

she loves you." (page 61). She wants to hold

on to the happy and loving family life she

has, and the fence metaphorically illustrates

a way of holding on.

In the...
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