The play, Fences, presents a slice of life in a black tenement and is set in 1957 through 1965 by August Wilson. It has a main character by the name Troy Maxson, who spent most of his entire career life as a garbage collector (Gale, 3). Throughout the play, Troy undergo through rebellion and frustrations as he struggled for fairness in a society which seems to offer none of his concerns. His actions and behaviors towards his family can be interpreted by one as those of a violent and evil father.
However, in a broad look at him, he seems like an individual who takes responsibility for his family no matter how stressful situations may seem. Therefore he appears as a kind father who tries to keep his family together and provide necessities for them. Therefore, by use of Troy Maxson in the play, August brings out several themes that explain about the experiences that most of the people with African dysentery living in the United States were going through as a result of their staying in areas which were predominantly occupied by whites. At the same time, the same themes guide on the flow of the play.
Racial Discriminations as a theme is very open in this play. The play was set in the 1950s when the issue of race was still eminent in America. During this period, there had been some small progress made on race relations, for instance, the integration of pro sports teams (Gale, 25). However, as a whole, United States had a long way to go. Slavery which was seen as diluting in America territories still had some shadow that could be seen. Almost all of the characters in Fences are African American, and it seems they were dealing with the issue of racism in each of their daily lives.
For instance, essence of racism prompted Troy to question his boss though he never received his desired feedback. He asked, “Mr. Rand, why are black employees are never allowed to drive the garbage truck but instead allowed to work as sanitation workers? ” (Wilson, 1197). Troy believed that blacks were getting despised though they had similar experiences just like the whites. The essence of discriminations based on race gets also seen when Troy got denied the chance to play in Major Leagues because he was a black person since the Major Leagues was not accepting black players during those days.
Through in the entire parts of the play, there are only two actual deaths; Mortality gets considered as a constant theme in Fences. Troy Maxson starts it off by telling a story where he literary wrestled with death and became the victor. There are other monologs whereby Troy gets heard to be daring death to try to take him as he thought he was immortal. “Death ain’t nothing but a fastball on the outside corner. ” (Wilson, 1201) Even though at the end death does take him, but an impression that he did not go down without a fight is left behind since he never let the fear of mortality to control his life.
The play, through Troy, seems to view human death as both a dark inevitability and the final chance for peace. At last, the play depicts gates of heaven getting opened for Troy after his demise, and this leaves the readers with the impression that Troy found rest in the afterlife, therefore, bringing the essence of living forever. Interpreting and Inheriting History is another theme that is eminent in this play. Much of the conflict in this play arises because some characters are at odds with the way they view the past and what they want to do with the future.
For instance, Troy and his son Cory see Cory’s future differently because of the way they make interpretations of the history. Troy doesn’t want Cory to experience the hardship, and disappointment he underwent when he was trying to become a professional sports player. Therefore he demands that Cory resumes working immediately after school instead of engaging with other team members in their practice exercises. Cory, however, views that times have changed when a player like his father would get rejected from the team due to his skin color. To him, he had a feeling that he was perfect and could not get enied a chance to play in any competitive game. Even after presenting to Troy the name of successful black athletes in the history of America who managed to excel in sports regardless of their skin color, Troy still stood his ground and did not seem to be swayed by Cory’s word. Instead, he chose to tell him on the misfortunes that will befall him one day in his sports life. At last, Troy’s perception of what is right and what is wrong for Cory came to pass as Cory is made to experience an unhappy fate similar to his father. The family is another theme that the play revolves around.
By revolving around the tribulations and trials of the Maxson family, the play seems to be an excellent example of a family drama. The author put Troy as a struggling father who struggles to fulfill his role as a father to his only son and at the same time to become a good husband to his wife. At a local view, one would say that Troy did not do a great role he purported to be carrying to both of his family acolytes. This is proved based on the way his wife bitterly complained; “I told him if he wasn’t the marrying kind, then move put the way so the marrying kind could find me” (Wilson, 1239).
This clearly depicted how disintegrated his family was before his demise. Additionally, the instinct that Bono had about Troy concerning his affairs with Alberta becomes real when Troy later admits to his wife Rose that he was dating Alberta. Towards the end of the play, his family can be seen to have grown by his example. In general, this play depicts the complex dynamics that both tear families apart and hold them together at the same time. Betrayal is another theme that takes center stage in this play. Wilson explores many different types of deception in Fences Wilson depicts Troy as the architect of deception in the play.
Troy seems to have managed in betraying almost everybody in the play in a different way. He appears to have betrayed his son, his wife, his closest best friend, Bono. Troy betrays his wife the moment he started extra marital affairs with Alberta without the consent of his wife. He denies this illicit relationship with Alberta even when Bono his closest friend lamented on the same; “I see where you be eyeing her” (Wilson, 1245). Their illegal contact would then materialize out as Alberta becomes pregnant with his child.
He betrayed his family when he did not even talk about this to either to his wife. Later when he opened up to Rose about his affair with Alberta, the feeling of being betrayed would be seen on Rose’s face. Troy betrayed his son Cory when he engaged in a fight with him. This prompted his son to vacate their home and move to an unknown place and would only come back after the death of Troy, his father. Troy also betrayed his long-time friend, Bono. Immediately he received the promotion to be a driver, he despised Bono and never did he hang out with him as they used to do.
Even though most of the mentioned characters were hearted by Troy’s actions, at last, they showed their respect for him. Somehow, they imagined that Troy did not betray them in his heart. Troy never apologized for anything that he did in his life, and that could be the reason as to why most of the characters respected him to the end. Dissatisfactions as theme expose how there are a lot of troubles in the play. It is due to the essence of discontent that made Troy Maxson to be seen as a protagonist. Troy seems to be dissatisfied with his personal life.
He is unhappy that his pro baseball dreams were shut down due to the color of his skin. He felt dissatisfied with his work as a sanitation worker, and this prompted him to question his boss Mr. Rand if the work they (blacks) were only meant to do such a work. He felt dissatisfied by his son who never saw the value of work. Even though he loved his wife Rose, but still Troy finds a new love in another woman’s arms meaning he was never satisfied with his wife alone. Though it was seen as a struggle, Cory did not want to let dissatisfaction of his father to mess up his life.
A lot of explanations concerning duty in the play make it stand out as a theme (Shannon, 121). Most of this revolved around the duty of a father to his family. To Troy, just as his father, he believed that his sole duty as a father was to provide food and shelter for his family. He does not think that it is his obligation to show love to his son. He even engages in a fight with him. Troy does not take it that fidelity was his duty to his wife. He goes on to have an affair with Alberta and sees no wrong in it.
Even though according to his idea he fulfilled his role as a father, but still based on his actions one could still question a lot from him. In conclusion, the themes throughout the play show how human beings can be pushed away from people and back to them just as the case with the life of Troy Maxson. His betrayal, dissertation of duties, lack of proper love to his family just to mentions a few can be said as the reason as to why others would feel like pushing him away from them. Though most characters would later see him as a better person, still about three-quarters of his deeds were very unfortunate.