July 29, 2013
Baseball is popular game that is played in nine innings, they have a beginning where they get warmed up, a middle where they score and celebrate, and an end which is slowing down until the end of the game is called. In the play Fences by August Wilson baseball is a major theme. The play is written in nine acts just like a baseball game, it also has high points like getting home runs, and it also has downs like every baseball game has. The main character Troy Maxson was a hitter for the Negro leagues, he was an outstanding player. Troy’s life is somewhat like playing a game of baseball, he started out young which would be his beginning, he then played in the major ‘negro’ league which is his middle and climax, and his end of the game is where the story takes place and the game is called at the end of his life. The story starts off with Troy and his friend Bono coming home from work, they have a tradition for payday, have drinks. In this first act we learn how Troy was a major baseball player in the Negro Leagues when he was younger and before the war when the colored and whites were segregated. His wife Rose tells him about their son Cory being recruited by a football team when Troy starts getting irritated because to him sports never got him anywhere in life. “I told that boy about that football stuff. The white man ain’t gonna let him get nowhere with that football. I told him when he first come to me with it. Now you come telling me he done went and got more tied up in it. He ought to go and get recruited in how to fix cars or something where he can make a living” (1.1.65-68). He thinks that because going big in baseball did not work out for him that it is pointless for his son to try even if it is just for fun. Rose told him that times have changed and life is different now but he does not want to listen, he is set in his own ways of thinking. He takes his responsibilities of taking care of his family seriously and he thinks that certain things are not possible for his boy; he wants Cory to get a job and keep it because of what happened to him when he was younger. “Troy is so angry over his own lost opportunities that, by 1957, he cannot take pleasure in the fact that black men are finally able to play major league ball. Integration means nothing to him because it came too late to benefit his life. (Metzger)” He does not seem to want to understand that this could be a good thing for Cory and he might do well, he is to consumed with the fact that it did not go well for him. Further on in the story we realize that Troy has had an affair with a woman named Alberta. He seems to have wanted to escape and have break from responsibilities. Somewhat like his days baseball. He ends up with Alberta getting pregnant and goes on to admit the scenario to his wife Rose. She gets upset but she does not leave him, she just separates herself from the marriage but continues her responsibilities. Rose decides to take her time to the church to have something of her own. However, Alberta ends up dying during child birth, and Rose accepts the responsibilities when Troy comes home with the baby. “A motherless child has got a hard time. From right now… this child got a mother. But you a womanless man” (2.3.). She knows she has her responsibilities as a mother and wife even though she does not necessarily feel like a wife anymore. “While Troy might see another woman as a way to escape into the past, there is less opportunity for Rose to escape the pressures and responsibilities of life” (Metzger). In the final innings we come to realize that Troy has many issues about doing things his own way. So much so that he lost his wife emotionally, his son Cory left, and his brother Gabe is in a mental institution. He ends up losing everyone except for his daughter with Alberta. He eventually passes away and everyone gathers to remember his hits and strikes. They do remember he was a good man; he just had some problems on the inside. When they all gather the morning of the funeral Cory gets to meet Raynell, Troys’ daughter from Alberta, and she is seven years old. Time has passed but everyone seems to remember him the same way including Raynell. She knows the same song that Troy used to sing to Cory when he was young. In conclusion Fences is a different kind of story, but it shows not only how things were different in that time period but also how people are different. The thoughts, actions, and pasts are all different. This story had a lot to do with baseball, not only the game but the idea of the American dream. Nine innings in a game, nine acts in this play. It all leads to the story being put together and how we each understand it.
Metzger, Sheri. "An essay on Fences." Drama for Students. Detroit: Gale. Literature Resource Center. Web. 24 July 2013.