Fences: Black People and Wilson

Better Essays
Joseph Fernandez
Ms. Reilly
World Lit
27, January,2010

The Isolation and Alienation of Troy in Wilson's Fences August Wilson's Fences is a play about life, and an extended metaphor Wilson uses to show the crumbling relationships between Troy and Cory and Troy and Rose. Troy Maxson represents the dreams of black America in a majorly white world, a world where these dreams were not possible because of the racism and attitudes that prevailed. Troy Maxson is representative of many blacks and their "attitudes and behavior...within the social flux of the late fifties, in their individual and collective struggles to hew a niche for themselves in the rocky social terrain of postwar America"
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And then I want you to stay on the other side...You stay on the other side of that fence until you ready for me (Wilson, 77).

There is also the literal fence in the play, which Rose wants Troy to build around their yard. Troy wonders why Rose would want a fence when they have virtually nothing of value to steal. Bogumil believes that, "A fence to Rose has spiritual significance, solace to comfort her during the times she must intervene in the dysfunctional relationship between her son Cory and husband Troy...(48). The beginning of Act One, Scene Two begins with Rose singing to herself, "Jesus, be a fence around me every day...." (Wilson, 21). While Troy is building fences to keep people out, Rose builds a fence to keep them in, as she, "dearly desires to preserve the family she has never had" (Bogumil, 48). Rose herself says to Troy, " know I ain't never wanted no half nothing in my family. My whole family is half.....Can't hardly tell who's who (Wilson, 68).

Alan Nadel believes that Wilson is making a political statement with the metaphor of a fence. He sets up his argument with the assertion that. "the idea of a fence is inextricable from the idea of property" (86). He continues in this vein, linking property to humans, linking humans as a form of property to the days of slaveholding. He then says that one of the human ideals of freedom was in ownership; ownership of property. He states that in previous times, "Race or skin color was just such a fence.
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