August Wilson’s Fences

Topics: African American, Racism, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 6 (2212 words) Published: March 3, 2014

August Wilson’s Fences The immigration of Africans to America as slaves has had a great effect to many things including literature. Despite their experiences in this foreign land, they brought with them a different culture that had not been experienced in the American society. The stories and experiences of African-Americans have seen authors write books and plays being staged with large audiences. This is due to the different but almost similar stories that these people have to tell regarding their journey to America and how difficult it was for them to fit in the society they found. Introduction  

In 1983, the American playwright August Wilson released a play titled Fences. The play has a setting of the 1950s and it explores the evolving African –American experience with race relations as one of the many themes depicted in this play. The play revolves around a 53-year-old man named Troy who is an African-America. He is struggling to provide for his family and although he is a baseball player his color is a barrier for him being able to join professional baseball thus receiving little money to support his family. This paper seeks to analyze the play and check on why it was given the title Fences (Wilson). Analysis of the play Fences by August Wilson

As earlier stated, the play is about a man named Troy. The play shows how Troy is struggling to not only provide for his family but also to fit in a society in which people are judged by their skin color. The theme of race discrimination is portrayed well throughout the play. First, in the 1950s in which the play is set, people of color were seen as those who do not deserve any good thing in the society. They were associated to social crimes and ending up in jail for a crime not committed was a normal phenomenon (Wilson). However, emotional disconnect with the society they lived in and failure to secure a job so as to earn a living was greatly contributing to them ending up being involved in these social crimes. In the play, Troy is shown as a baseball player a game he had learnt and played while in prison. He had ended up in prison for an accidental murder he had committed during a robbery. From this act it is evident that due to his failure of securing a job, Troy had ended up involving himself in robbery so as to earn himself a living but this time it turned out ugly and he ended up in prison. Further, discrimination is seen at work place where some jobs could not be done by an African-American but instead they were reserved for the whites. This is seen when Troy manages to secure a job with a garbage collecting firm and he is heard asking Mr. Rand; who he refers to as the boss, why black men were not allowed to drive garbage trucks. This shows that indeed there was race discrimination at work place where African-Americans could not be bestowed with some responsibilities. The act of being denied an opportunity to drive a garbage truck can be seen as a sarcastic event. It can be viewed in the way that even if garbage collection was being seen as dirty work that could only be done by those who were seen as less fortunate in the society, the fact that driving a garbage truck was seen as “literary driving a vehicle”, an African-American would not be allowed to drive the truck since they were restricted to do so during that time (Tamura). In addition, the play shows Rose who is Troy’s wife with whom they have a son named Cory, however, Troy has a son Lyon from a previous marriage but he does not leave with him. Gabriel is Troy’s younger brother who has notable psychological damage after he suffered head injuries when he was serving as a soldier. This new development of Gabriela having served as a soldier brings contrast of sentiments of race discrimination and at the same time it can be viewed as one way in which discrimination of people of the color was being cemented. First as a...

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Tamura, Eileen. The history of discrimination in U.S. education: marginality, agency, and power. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print.
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