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Symbolism in August Wilson's Fences

Troy Maxon is an African American who reflects the family values of his family, ones that are heavily influenced by culture and socioeconomic status. In many ways, because of his own value code and his socioeconomic and cultural status, Troy comes to the realization that he has built ôfencesö around himself from anger, bitterness, and self-loathing. This analysis will discuss the use of fences as a symbol for the barriers Troy has put between himself and others and himself and his own development.

WilsonÆs Fences portrays the Maxon family, an African American family of lower socioeconomic status truing to survive against significant odds in urban Pittsburgh. Troy was denied the opportunity to play major league baseball because of reasons of race and ethnicity. As such, he has built a fence between himself and those he views as a threat who try to rob him of opportunity. He has become very controlling and emotionally closed off as such, controlling the life of his son, Cory. Any objections to his will are vetoed, one of the fences he has built. ôBecause I say so, thatÆs why,ö is his catch-all barrier to any objections to his will, (Wilson, p. 17).

Another fence Troy has built is the one of emotional distance between him and his son. He is somewhat jealous as well as protective of Cory, who has been recruited for a football scholarship at a local college. The conflict between father and son is one of the fences in the story. Because of his intent to pass along his own experience to his son, he cannot permit Cory to be hopeful of his chances. Instead, he puts a fence between them by constantly reminding Cory of how he was cheated due to racism and prejudice; ôIÆm talking about if you could play ball then they ought to have let you play. DonÆt care what color you were,ö (Wilson, p. 12).

Troy carries his injuries from the past in the present as a chip on his shoulder. This chop is also


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Symbolism in August Wilson's Fences. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:39, May 28, 2020, from