Essays on Fences

In August Wilson’s Fences, racial discrimination definitely affected Troy Maxson and his family. They are portrayed as a poor black family living in poverty, and struggling to adjust to life while facing issues of racism, discrimination and segregation during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Slavery was long over, but segregation still officially existed in the south and the Civil Rights Movement was yet to come.

Analysis of “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath and “Fences” by August Wilson
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There are differences between "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath and "Fences" by August Wilson and obvious similarities between these two stories. “Fences” and “Daddy” have common themes and situations that both protagonists must deal with it. In both stories’ crime, race, and discrimination are both prominent, Fences and Daddy follow the pattern of general elements where the protagonists must face inner turmoil, family struggles, financial suffrage, and even racial discrimination. Fences by August Wilson and the poem Daddy show us the…...
FencesSylvia Plath
Struggles in “Fences” by August Wilson
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In “Fences” by the playwriter August Wilson, introduces the Maxson’s family and friends with struggles of meeting the standards of the American family dream with hardship. The time frame of this drama was in the 1950s-60s. Blacks lived in segregation throughout the country. In the 50s social welfare system were starting to change. America in the 50s supposed to help the disadvantaged (i.e. families that live in poverty, African Americans and minorities) that were neglected with communities suffering and being…...
Conflict Theme in Play “Fences” by August Wilson
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In the play “Fences” the conflict August Wilson uses most to drive all the other conflicts and elements of the story is Troy vs. himself. Wilson’s intent is to show how racial segregation and injustice can create difficulties in families, a lack of self-esteem, and lead to uncontrollable circumstances. Troy's, dissatisfaction with the way his life has turned out drives the rest of the conflicts that play out in the other events that take place in the story. Troy’s main…...
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Differences between “Daddy” and “Fences”
Words • 1865
Pages • 8
There are differences between "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath and "Fences" by August Wilson and obvious similarities between these two stories. "Fences" and "Daddy" have common themes and situations that both protagonists must deal with it. In both stories' crime, race, and discrimination are both prominent, Fences and Daddy follow the pattern of general elements where the protagonists must face inner turmoil, family struggles, financial suffrage, and even racial discrimination. Fences by August Wilson and the poem Daddy show us the…...
FencesSylvia Plath
I had the privilege of seeing Fences at Ford’s Theater Featuring one
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I had the privilege of seeing Fences at Ford's Theater. Featuring one of my professors, Kenyatta Rogers as Lyons Maxwell, his daughter Mecca Rogers as Raynell Maxson, Jefferson A. Russell as Gabriel Maxson, Justin Weaks as Cory Maxson, Doug Brown as Jim Bono, and headlining well-known actors Craig Wallace playing Troy Maxson and Erika Rose as Rose Maxson. Fences is the classic from August Wilson about Troy Maxson, a former aspiring baseball player who missed his chance at a professional…...
August Wilson’s Play ‘Fences’
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Almost, every family has secrets and demons buried deep down inside that they try to either defeat or hide in hope of retaining a normal life. In August Wilson's, play Fences, it clearly unveils a hidden secret about a noble man with a tragic flaw named Troy Maxson, who suffered mentally from injustice and racial segregation while trying to obtain the American Dream. Wilson, portrayal Troy as talented black Negro League slugger who dream of being accepted into the Major…...
An Analysis of the Father and Son Relationship in Fences, a Play by August Wilson
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“Fences by August Wilson” is one of the plays that can be used as a good example to display the theme of father and son relationship. The play is a masterpiece work of August Wilson. There exist three father and son relationships that are apparently complex and perplexing. One can observe that the relationships that exist between Troy and Cory, Troy and his father and Troy and Lyon do not flourish by love. In all these relationships, the sons try…...
Fences by August Wilson: Analysis of Troy
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Unintentional Effect Around the early 1900s, racism was prominent and wasn’t sugarcoated at all. African Americans had to deal with several obstacles around this period because of the discrimination in certain things they wanted to partake in. These actions effected many African Americans because it forced some of them to look at the world with hatred and it limited many of their opportunities in life. Racism is sad reality in our nation that affects all types of people and it…...
August Wilson’s Fences
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August Wilson’s Fences The immigration of Africans to America as slaves has had a great effect to many things including literature. Despite their experiences in this foreign land, they brought with them a different culture that had not been experienced in the American society. The stories and experiences of African-Americans have seen authors write books and plays being staged with large audiences. This is due to the different but almost similar stories that these people have to tell regarding their…...
Father-Child Relationships in Hamlet and Fences
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In both William Shakespeare's Hamlet and August Wilson's Fences, the emphasis placed on parent-child relationship is vital, as family plays an important role in developing a character's values as well as his or her upbringing does. While Ophelia, Laertes, and Hamlet show loyalty to their fathers unconditionally, Cory, even though looks up Troy as a figure, eventually exhibits disrespect to him. The relationship that Ophelia shares with her father, Polonius, is rather dogmatic to say the least. Throughout Hamlet, Polonius…...
Fences: Black People and Troy States
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“We black men have a hard enough time in our own struggle for justice, and already have enough enemies as it is, to make the drastic mistake of attacking each other and adding more weight to an already unbearable load. ” (Malcolm X) African American men through time have struggled for a power that is out of their reach because others hold the power. August Wilson’s Fences displays a Psychological/Psychoanalytic approach by illuminating the inherent injustice in America’s treatment of…...
Fences Baseball
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Fences by August Wilson is a play full of baseball imagery, which is key to understanding the writing. Being a play the reader must interpret the scenes from emotions, setting, tone, and interpretation. This gives them insight to how August Wilson wants to portray the book. Being a white man writing from the perspective of a poor black man he sends the reader back into a time where blacks were inferior. They were pushed into a life where they could…...
BaseballFencesJackie Robinson
Fences & Troy Maxson
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Everything in the life of Troy Maxson is a big disappointment for him. And Troy is entirely discouraged that whatever and everybody about him is unreasonable, unfair and untenable. With his bosom friend, Jim Bono, they lament during their weekend drinking binge that they are trapped in an unjust work practice. They resent that they are being discriminated upon as black men and must simply be contained to lifting garbage and could not drive garbage trucks. The labor group had…...
FencesGarbage ManRacism
An Analysis for the Play Fences
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The story line seemed melodramatic throughout the play. The author (August Wilson) has laid the ground work of many themes throughout the play. The play deals with Race, Men and their masculinity, Morality, Dreams and hopes of everyone involved, Family, Duty, Betrayal and Dissatisfaction. The play begins with Troy and his best friend Bono entering the yard chatting as they usually do coming home from work as garage collectors for their company. Every Friday is payday for Troy and Bono…...
FencesGarbage ManTroy
Fences Research Paper
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Lives are lead with anxiety over certain issues and with apprehension towards certain events. This play, Fences written by the playwright August Wilson deals with the progression of a family through the struggles of oppression and the inability to obtain the American Dream. The characters in the play develop throughout the story and can be viewed or interpreted in many different ways, but one man remains constant during the play and that is Troy. Due to certain events that transpired…...
The play “Fences”
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The play “Fences” is written and published by African-American playwright August Wilson in the year 1985. Set in the 1950’s, the play uses the concept of baseball to explain Troy Maxson’s battles with the hurdles of life. The story mainly revolves around Troy’s problems in life regarding his family. His son Cory was one of his major problems here and he also had a mistress in this story which caused the problem between him and his wife Rose. The relationships…...
FencesGarbage Man
Fences Play According to Aristotle
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Using Aristotle’s descriptions of Tragedy, I classify Fences by August Wilson as a tragic play. The elements of tragedy, Troy Maxson as a tragic hero, and tragic plot were evident throughout the play. Also, the feeling of catharsis at the end-which is proper of tragedy, was clearly identifiable. I. Fences fits into the tragic genre based on the points given by Aristotle. In Poetics, he defines tragedy as "the imitation of an action that is serious and also as having…...
AristotleFencesGarbage ManTragedyTragic Hero
Character Analysis of Rose
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August Wilson's Fences is a story of an African American family, primarily centered around Troy Maxson and his difficulties as a black man in a predominantly white society. The story focuses on many themes and puts an emphasis on the relationships between Troy and his family. As the story revolves around Troy, we see that many of the decisions he made start to affect those around him and the relationships of his friends, family, and loved ones slowly disintegrate. One…...
Analysis of Troy Maxson
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The play "Fences" by Lloyd Richards is primarily the story of Troy Maxson. A guy of many words, some of which although may not be especially great. He is a senior, large black guy who used to be a house run hitter in the Negro league, but by the time of the combination of professional Baseball, Troy was too old to benefit from it. This caused Troy to become the male he is today. Throughout the play the reader sees…...
Fences – Tragic Hero
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In August Wilson’s play “Fences”, he presents a misguided yet accomplished character. The play’s protagonist Troy, creates conflict with every character because of his judgmental nature and contrived haughty perception of himself. Through numerous stories that he re-cants Troy embellishes his experiences to cast himself in a righteous light. Contrary, to the stories he tells, his behavior expose Troy as a foolish man that does irrational things. One moment he is lecturing his family members on how they ought to…...
FencesTragic Hero
The dramatic structure in the form of racism
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The play ‘Fences’ is a thoroughgoing hit that is generally considered as his biggest success commercially. The dramatic structures of the play are evident. First, there is the use Fences: the play was not named Fences simply because of the major backdrop of building a fence in the backyard of the Maxson’s but rather; the author utilizes fences figuratively and as a literacy tool. Moreover, the relationships in the play are built and broken in the same backyard during the…...
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What is one of the most incriminating things that happened during the racial discrimination era towards African Americans? During this time, racial discrimination caused many African Americans to lose hope for better circumstances. They believed that they could never get a chance to live and have equal rights of the privileged Americans, Caucasians.

In August Wilson’s Fences, racial discrimination definitely affected Troy Maxson and his family. They are portrayed as a poor black family living in poverty, and struggling to adjust to life while facing issues of racism, discrimination and segregation during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Slavery was long over, but segregation still officially existed in the south and the Civil Rights Movement was yet to come. As in the lives of many African-Americans during that period, occurrences in events such as sports, the housing market, and workplaces in Fences provide strong evidence of how racial discrimination impacted the families daily.

Effects of Segregation Policies

Degrading segregation policies in sports have hurt African-Americans careers and lives. One of the events that was involved in racial discrimination in August Wilson’s fences was non other than Sports. During that time, baseball was one of the most popular and intermediate sports that was ever played, but however it was colored segregated and a lot of blacks who wanted to play were banned and not allowed to play this sport. One of the most historical figures in the Major League Baseball (MLB) that faced discrimination and broke the color line in the racial discrimination era was Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson made history by becoming the first African American to play in the MLB, but he had to overcome a lot of obstacles of the racial discrimination era like facing death threats, being hit by objects such as food like peanuts or popcorn, and even bottles of beer or soda; and also having to deal with being called a nigger during, on and off the field everyday as he was playing baseball for the Brooklyn dodgers. In August Wilson’s Fences, “Troy was considered a superior player by the colored league that could have succeeded in baseball within the dominant white society, however, his race and age prohibited the chance for him to play and prove himself in the sport, (” Both Jackie and Troy loved to play baseball and they both had to face racial discrimination. According to the, “When Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, Troy will already turned 43. Being so far and beyond his prime time playing days in 1947 that no one in the major league will ever sign him which results in making him angry and keeping him from achieving his American dream of becoming a professional baseball player.” Though racial discrimination was a barrier and set limits, both Jackie Robinson and Troy Maxson were determined and dedicated athletes that provide background for educating future athletes.

Second discrimination/marketing is another type of event that plays a major role in the uncertainty and unsettling in African-American family life and satisfaction. During the 1950’s, a lot of African Americans were migrating from the south to the north during the great migration era. According to, “approximately three million of African Americans had migrated from the south; and with the large- scale departure of white Americans from cities to suburbs, which results in the increase of physical size and selling homes at low prices to African Americans as they were in fear of the declinement of property values.” But, after the sellments of those houses to African Americans, the housing marketings for poor African Americans began to change dramatically; According to the “By mid- twentieth century, federal housing legislation was focused on eliminating substandard living conditions through the clearance of “blighted’’ areas and provided federal subsidies for cities attempting to fix the serious housing shortage in American cities. But however, federally- assisted urban renewal projects demolished about almost 20% of central city housing units that were occupied by African Americans during the 1950’s to the 1970’s as 90% of the low- income housing units that were destroyed by the urban renewal were never replace”.

Approximately 60% of African Americans were displaced by the urban renewal, resulting in more African Americans living in public housing than Whites/Caucasian Americans. In Fences, Troy at that time was struggling to earn and take home money for his family as they were living in poverty. According to the description of the area and workplaces that he was working in, Troy and his family were living in a small and poor condition housing that you see today in apartments in slum buildings or shacks in rural farm areas. These poor living and working conditions demonstrate how difficult and different it was for the blacks/African Americans than the whites back in the 1950’s.

Lynching of African Americans

Bitter events that took place in the racial discrimination era were the lynchings of African Americans. What is lynching? Lynching was a type of action that involves in putting somebody to death by putting a rope around someone’s neck and hanging them by a tree. Lynchings of African Americans were the most incriminating, and horrible actions that have ever taken place in and impacting the lives of African Americans around the world back then. Thousands of African Americans during this time were in fear and full of hatred for the white men as they were being stalked and selected for this brutal murderous action. According to (Berman, Mark 10 Feb. 2015), “Researchers determined that approximately 3,959 African Americans were killed in “racial terror lynchings” in a dozen southern states between 1877 and 1950.” Also according to the, “Most of the lynchings that had happened in the south occurred and were increasing dramatically, because many whites/Caucasians back then felt and believed that after slavery was abolished, the African Americans/blacks were getting too much freedom and felt like that they needed to be more controlled and were also blaming their financial problems on the newly freed. This type of an event can be relevant to the feelings of Troy Maxson and his family, because they too felt terrified and angry that the white/Caucasian people were hurting their race. Throughout the story of Fences, Troy tries to engage life and challenge death because he believes that if he continues to live in fear and let death take a toll on his life and family, then he would feel like he let his family down and himself down. A lot of black people as the Maxsons in Fences are trying to become hardworking citizens and it is ashamed that both the white/Caucasians and blacks can’t get along and work together and it is also ashamed that actions like lynchings can have a lasting impact on every African American citizen both in the past and present.

Changing Life for the Better

After recounting and recalling theses events that had happened during the racial discrimination era, a lot of people, including me, might ask this question how: How will/does racism affect behaviors and relationship and, and do African-American acknowledge and accept change in racial relating since the Civil Rights movement? How will the characters in August Wilson’s Fences perceived and see the change? Well to answer that question: Racism has been going on for years, and a lot of people in the past, present, and future felt like nothing had changed; but they don’t realize that things today are much better than it was back then when every African American in the 1800’s and the 1900’s were enslave, bought and sold, brutally tortured and murdered by racist White/Caucasian Americans. I did not live in that era, but if Troy had lived longer he would no agree that behaviors and relationships have improved and in some respect going along pretty well today than it was back then. Still there are still some people struggling to adjust and getting used to each other as history changes throughout every day, year, month, and decade. This can be relevant to the characters in fences, because throughout his life as a child and adult, Troy Maxson had seen nothing but negativity and he was very hard on his family because he loved them and was afraid of losing them due to these type of racial events and discrimination going on throughout everyday life. Unfortunately, Troy had passed away and wasn’t able to see the changes that had affected everybody that he had known and cared about throughout his life. As the play continued, Rose, Cory, Gabriel, Lyons, and Bono are living well; and even though during that time when everything was going okay they too were struggling to adjust and perceived getting used to the changes that were going around them. The Maxsum, never to forget how hard it was to live life in poverty and to live life as a free and civilized African American people.

Moral of the Play

In Fences, August Wilsonportrayed struggles of racism. He showed racial discrimination, its impact on events in African-American lives and their true feelings about progress during the early 1950’s in events, behaviors and relationships in the lives of the Maxson family. These real life events that had happened during the racial discrimination era at the turn of the century were shown as prominent occurrences in the lives of the Maxson family. The actions and feelings of the Maxson family prove my point on how devious racism could be. Racism back then was very popular and it was also very wrong. It affected many Americans then and still is a practice that greatly impact the American cultures today. We see change but are yet to be treated equal. Color line and racism pose many barriers for African-American as seen in Fences. Over a half of a century later, like Troy many don’t believe that equal privileges will be for all. Just like the events of sports, housing segregation, and lynchings in the racial discrimination era took a toll on every African American and the Maxson family in the 1950’s. In many respects we are still fighting the Civil War.

Works Cited

  1. ‘Lynching Statistics.’ Lynching Statistics for 1882-1968. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.
  2. ‘Future of Fair Housing: Report of the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.’ The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.
  3. Instructor. ‘Defending Troy Maxton from Racial Discrimination in August Wilson.’ Defending Troy Maxton from Racial Discrimination in August Wilson’s Fences. N.p., 30 Apr. 2011. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.
  4. Berman, Mark. ‘Even More Black People Were Lynched in the U.S. than Previously Thought, Study Finds.’ N.p., 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 5 Dec. 2016.
  5. Wilson, August, Fences paperback 1986

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