Spirituality & Religion in August Wilson's 'Fences'

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Fen Spirituality & Religion | In August Wilson’s “Fences” | | Mia Savage ENG 102 Essay #3 | 11/11/2011 | Introduction: “Fences” is one of ten plays written by August Wilson that document historic periods in Black American life. It is a colorful and thoughtfully written piece that tells the story of one family’s struggle in Civil Rights Era America, an empowering and complicated time for lower and middle class blacks struggling to attain an ideal of the “American Dream”. Troy and Rose Maxon’s family deal with complex external challenges, such as economic shifts in industry and working classes that shape the financial status, evidenced by Troy’s successful quest for promotion and increased responsibility at his…show more content…
Wilson stepped outside of biblical Christianity as the standard by inclusion of this as the final scene, making a statement regarding the moral dilemmas of Blacks in a time of revolutionary change, in a time where “by any means necessary” was the rhetoric of leadership and progress. Generally, ethnic displays like Gabriel’s rhythmic dance were not socially acceptable, or given a public platform before the resulting shift in Afrocentric arts and literature. Here, Gabriel’s dance can be seen as moving and transcendent, whereas pre-Civil Rights, it could have been possibly perceived as a silly hoodoo gesture that non-Black audiences could not connect or relate to. Troy had left behind him resentment, anguish and unresolved family issues upon his passing, and boasted a cavalier attitude about reckoning during his life. Yet, when Cory and his estranged sister Raynell sing in unison a song composed by the father in his hard-luck times (p.1352) that reflects a “we shall overcome” ideology, Cory ultimately changes his mind, swallows his resentment and decides to participate in honoring by attending his funeral. Unity in the face of adversity is a common idea in religions universally, which gives way to reverence that death

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