August Wilson's Fences - Building Fences Essay
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August Wilson's Fences - Building Fences
The first time I read August Wilson's Fences for english class, I was angry. I was angry at Troy Maxson, angry at him for having an affair, angry at him for denying his son, Cory, the opportunity for a football scholarship.I kept waiting for Troy to redeem himself in the end of the play, to change his mind about Cory, or to make up with Ruth somehow. I wanted to know why, and I didn't, couldn't understand. I had no intention of writing my research paper on this play, but as the semester continued, and I immersed myself in more literature, Fences was always in the back of my mind, and, more specifically, the character of Troy Maxson. What was Wilson trying to say with this piece? The more that…show more content…
Instead of writing that I found Troy despicable and without honor or dignity, I found myself listing several reasons why he was, in fact, heroic. I looked at why Troy Maxson did the things he did, instead of just looking at the things. I realized how difficult it was for a black man to make it in a white mans world during the fifties, when color alone influenced every aspect of life.
Fences can be viewed as a family play, it can also be viewed as a work specifically of the black man's place, or plight, in a predominantly white world. Either way, it has a very valuable message. It is a true art to be able to touch on so many aspects of life in a work, aspects that may be viewed differently by different people.. Wilson's work, and the character of Troy Maxson, makes me question many things, among them myself, as well as his intended message. This is why I am so in awe of Fences, and of Wilson's talent. This is why I am writing my paper on Fences.
I didn't know anything about August Wilson before I began my research. I was very surprised to learn about his separatist views, because his play seemed so universal to me. I was also very surprised to learn that he had left school two years early because of a racial comment from a teacher, and that he had acquired the remainder of his education from hours spent at the library. What I had not known was that many aspects of Fences can be seen as
Fences by August Wilson: IntroductionThe play Fences by August Wilson is concerned with the myth of the failed American dream. The play opened at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1985. It was an enormous success and claimed the Pulitzer Prize for August Wilson in 1987. How black people were deprived of their legitimate right to share the American dream is the main issue of this play.
August Wilson (1945-2005)
By the same token, the play does not hesitate to present a slice of life in a black tenement in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. Fences is the study about the race and the family relationship during the transition period of late 20th century. Wilson portrays black man's life in the white community where dreams cannot be realized.
The play is also about the change. When people's attitude or mentality changes, the change in real sense occurs. One should accept change and should prepare oneself to get the opportunity. Troy’s mind embedded with bitter past experience cannot change his mind and remains skeptic throughout the life and creates problem in the father son relationship.
Its main character, Troy Maxson, is a garbage collector who has taken great pride in keeping his family together and providing for them. When the play opens he and his friend Bono are talking about Troy's challenge to the company and the union about black's ability to do the same easy work that whites do. Troy's rebellion and frustration set the tone of the entire play: he is looking for his rights, and at age fifty-three, he had missed many opportunities to get what he deserves.
Troy's struggle for fairness becomes virtually mythic as he describes his wrestling with death during a bout with pneumonia in 1941. He describes a three-day struggle in which he eventually overcame his foe. Troy, a good baseball player who was relegated to the Negro leagues, sees death as nothing but a fastball, and he could always deal with a fastball. Both Bono and Troy's wife, Rose, show an intense admiration for him as he describes his ordeal.
The father-son relationship that begins to take a central role in the drama is complicated by strong feelings of pride and independence on both sides. Troy's son Cory wants to play football, and Troy wants him to work on the fence he's mending. Cory's youthful enthusiasm probably echoes Troy's own youthful innocence, but Troy resents it in Cory, Seeing it as partly responsible for his own predicament, Cory can't see his father's point of view - and feels that he is exempt from the kind of prejudice his father suffered.
The agony of the father-son relationship, their misperceptions of each other, persist through the play. Rose's capacity to cope with the deepest of Troy's anxieties - his fear of death - is one of her most important achievements in the play. At the end of the play Rose demands that Cory gives Troy the respect he deserves, as though Cory's anger and inexperience make it all but impossible for him to see his father as anything other than an oppressor. Cory feels that he must say no to his father once, but Rose will not let him deny his father. When the play ends with Gabe's fantastic ritualistic dance, the audience feels a sense of closure, of spiritual finish.