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by August Wilson, is a story entangled with conflict surrounding an African
American family who lives in Pennsylvania. Troy is the victim of living in a
generation where there were limited opportunities for African Americans.

Through his experiences he has formed his beliefs that African-Americans will
always struggle to survive and the only think they can do is stay practical and
support their families the best they can. It shows how racial discrimination
can place a strain on African American families. Throughout the play Troy
refuses to see that race relations have gotten better since he was young.

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One of the themes of Fences is the way
racism has interfered with the characters dreams. Tory is one of the central
characters of the play Fences. The outcome that racism had on his life by
creating struggles in his childhood and diminishing his dreams, today Troy
lives in the shadows of what could and what should have been. The play shows
how Troy’s actions, that were shaped by his past, have negatively affected
those around him. His crushed sense of hope causes him to crush the aspirations
and dreams of those around him. Troy was a home run player on the Negro League
and wanted nothing more than to be a pro baseball player. However, during this
time of racial discrimination his dream was soon taken away from him. This was
one of his greatest disappointments. Troy continues to face unfair treatment
when in the beginning of the play he talks about he wants to be the first
African- American to drive a garbage truck rather than just be the can
collector. “Why? Why you got the white mens driving and the colored
lifting?” Told him “what’s the matter, don’t I count? You think only white
fellows got sense enough to drive a truck. That ain’t no paper job! Hell,
anybody can drive a truck” (Wilson). Since Troy faced these struggles he has
also put a halt onto his sons dreams. With his struggles to overcome the
inequalities he faced from segregation, he denies his son the opportunity to
play sports the same way he was denied.

Cory who is Troy and Rose’s son, wants to
go to college on a football scholarship. Troy has seen his own dream of
becoming a pro baseball player shattered because of racism and he thinks the
same thing will happen to his son. Resentful by the disappointments of his own
life, Troy refuses to believe that times have changed when his son Cory is
offered a football scholarship. He thinks that “white people” wont let his son
get anywhere with football, the same way he was unable to play baseball. When
Cory tells his dad he is going to play college football he refuses to let him
go denying him the chance at a college education and insists that he get a job
instead that he can rely on. Troy states,”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”
(Wilson). Troy doesn’t want
his son to be hurt from sports the same way he was. Cory is now forced to
achieve a new dream since his dream of playing football has been shattered by
his dad. 

Rose not only suffers because of the
social discrimination practiced by the whites, but within her family she
suffers as a woman as well. She is seen as the victim of double oppression
caused by the outside world and her husband. She finds out that troy is not
loyal to her and is having an affair with another woman. When she learns of
Troy affairs, Troy tries to justify his actions by telling her that he feels
he’s been “standing in the same place for eighteen years”. Rose responds with,
“I been standing with you! I been right here with you, Troy.

I got a life too. I gave eighteen years of my life to stand in the same spot
with you. Don’t you think I ever wanted other things? Don’t you think I had
dreams and hopes? What about my life? What about me?” (Wilson). She has placed all her hopes and dreams
into Troy, but he has betrayed her. Even though she doubted his abilities as a
husband and father sometimes she always stood by his side and gave him
everything she had.

the play Troy gradually builds a fence in his front yard around his house that
Rose requested him to do. Throughout the play we see Rose struggling to
maintain positive control over her family, and the fence is a way in keeping
her family together. In the play Cory questions his mothers desire to build the
fence. Bono, Troy’s friend tells him, “Some people build fences to keep
people out…and other people build fences to keep people in. Rose wants to
hold on to you all. She loves you” (Wilson). Rose is the symbol of love and understanding for her family.

While Tory discouraged Cory’s dreams of playing football, Rose encouraged him
and supported her sons dreams. She tries to convince Troy that times have
changed, and that the color of his skin will not keep him from playing sports
like it did in the past. “Times have changed since you was
playing baseball, Troy. That was before the war. Times have changed a lot since
then” Rose says. Despite all the hardships she may have faced, Rose is seen a
woman who is devoted to her family, and the sacrifices she makes to be the best
wife and mother she can. Throughout the play we see her overcome her obstacles
by the strength she has within herself.

the play we have seen how the effects of racism that Troy faced, interfered
with his relationships with those around him. Since Troy was unable to fulfill
his dream of playing baseball, he kept his son from playing sports as well.

Rose who is seen as a strong and loving woman pushed aside her desires and
needs to be the best mother and wife she could be. She was the character that
help her family together and supported her husband and children. Throughout the
play we can see that Troy carried a sense of bitterness throughout his life and
in turn caused him to hurt and betray the ones closest to him. He carried the
harsh memories he faced during a time of racism and continued to live his life
in doubt and fear, and in turn emotionally pushed everyone away. Fences can be
seen as a structure to divide and keep things out which is exactly what
African-Americans went through during this time. However, the fence was a way
to show the reader how Troy’s lack of work on the fence represented his lack of
work as a father and a husband. 

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