Relationship Between Cory and Troy in Movie Fences

Categories: Fences

The movie Fences captures the turbulent relationship between Cory and Troy. The most notable scene that captures this relationship is, act two scene four. Cory brings up Troys failing to him as a father and as a husband. This commotion is intensified through emotive language and the use of the stage directions. Furthermore, the constant reference baseball and the use of cinematography and camera angles complete this scene. As it allows the viewer to understand the pain Cory feels and the tension of the relationship between his father.

The movie uses August Wilson's emotive language as well as stage directions to portray the turbulent relationship between Troy and Cory. The use of emotive language, though, is what stands out. An example of emotive language is when Cory says; “That's right. You always talking about this dumb stuff. Now, why don’t you just get out of my way.” Cory’s use of ‘that’s right’ and ‘you always talking about dumb stuff.

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’ shows how little he cares about what his father has to say. Cory believes that he has grown up and firmly believes that his dad did not give him anything. Another example to this point is when Cory exclaims; “You talking about what you did for me… what’d you ever give me?” The use of emotive language really brings this relationship to what it is. 

Cory has finally found the confidence to tell his dad how he is feeling, that his father never gave him anything he asked for.

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The final blow, that leads to this intense fight is when Cory boldly claims that the house and yard Troy has ‘paid for with his own sweat and bones’ came from Gabe and not him. For Cory, this exchange was a tough feat because he had to finally stand up to his father as Troy did to his father. He had to evolve into a man. All of these lines allows the reader to sympathize and empathize with Cory and get irritated at Troy. This is because every person has had the emotion of anger towards their parents but they might have never confronted them about it. Cory did exactly that and showed to the reader that he has really evolved as a person. In this scene, August Wilson has made Troy the antagonist and Cory the protagonist and through the use of emotive language, the reader feels like they are in the scene itself.

Although Wilson was able to make the reader sympathize with Cory through emotive language, the use of stage directions adds to the intense scene with Cory and Troy. A key example of this is when Cory is backed up against a tree and grabs a baseball bat. The reference of the baseball bat key to understanding this scene as the bat has a symbolic significance to the play. This is because of it being referred to every single scene by Troy. The bat symbolizes the racial abuse Troy had to go through when he was growing up. It also symbolizes Troy’s broken career as a baseball player, to Troy baseball means more to him than his own wife. 

This is because Troy had said that said when meeting Rose that baseball is first to him and she is second, but if they grow old together she could come close. When Cory picks up the bat, Troy’s tone completely changes almost like he is entranced. The evidence of this is when Troy says; “That’s my bat, put my bat down.” As Cory keeps on swinging Troy keeps on advancing like a fox about to eat his prey. Cory is the prey, but he is not defenseless. But Troy realizes that Cory has no intention of using the bat as he exclaims; “You’re gonna have to kill me! You wanna draw that bat back on me. You’re gonna have to kill me.” 

This line relates to the fight scene with Troy and his dad when Troy claims he became a man. He used his weapon on his dad, but Cory cannot. Lastly, another use of stage directions shows that Troy is much stronger than Cory but spares him when he finally snatches the bat from his son. The use of stage directions allows the to first respect Troy and sympathize with Cory. The reason why the reader respects Troy is that they realize that it takes a lot out of a child to have the courage to beat their own father. Troy did exactly that at a much younger age. Secondly, they sympathize with Cory even more because he had enough courage to pick up the bat but he did not use it.

In conclusion, Wilson allows the reader to sympathize with Cory through the use of emotive language and stage directions. Wilson also brings out the darker side in Troy and allows the reader to believe his past experiences with his father. Furthermore, through the use of emotive language and stage direction, the scene intensified further and captures the turbulent relationship between Cory and Troy. The fight scene shows that Cory has realized his own self-worth, and believes that Troy has not done anything for him. His realization leads to a boost of confidence, which is brought out to the reader through the use of stage direction. This is because he had enough courage to use a weapon against his father who he claimed is old.   

Works cited

  1. Wilson, A. (2016). Fences: A play. Plume.
  2. The Criterion Collection. (2017). Fences.
  3. Ebert, R. (2016, December 21). Fences Movie Review & Film Summary (2016). Roger Ebert.
  4. Halterman, J. (2016, December 23). Viola Davis and Denzel Washington give knockout performances in ‘Fences’. NBC News.
  5. Kushner, T. (2016, December 23). ‘Fences’: A Great Play Comes to the Screen. The New York Times.
  6. Lewis, R. (2017). The Radical Tragicomedy of August Wilson's "Fences." MELUS, 42(3), 15–32.
  7. Raboteau, E. (2016, December 21). Fences: Film Review. Hollywood Reporter.
  8. Scott, A. O. (2016, December 14). Review: Denzel Washington and Viola Davis Plunge Into August Wilson’s ‘Fences’. The New York Times.
  9. Taylor, C. (2016, December 22). ‘Fences’ is a powerful, emotional journey. The Boston Globe.
  10. Williams, K. (2017). ‘Fences’: From Stage to Screen. The Journal of Popular Culture, 50(4), 793–796.
  11. Zinman, G. (2016, December 22). August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ comes to vivid life onscreen. The Boston Globe.
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Relationship Between Cory and Troy in Movie Fences. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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