"Fences": Analysis of August Wilson's Play

In this August Wilson’s “Fences ” Analysis Essay we will analyze the literary devices and main themes of this play. The play “Fences” written by August Wilson took place in the late 1950’s. It portrayed a challenging lifestyle of a white dominated society and the venture of providing for a family. In the play fences many literary devices and elements such as character, setting, and conflict were used to illuminate the dramatic issues of the play. Themes of responsibility, dreams, freedom, all work together to create the overall message of “Fences.” The play consisted of three main characters, Troy, Rose, and Cory. Author Wilson’s choices to portray Troy’s character has created the theme of him being a hardworking person. For example, troy gives up his desired wants for the needs of oneself and family. Wilson has symbolized Troy’s human weakness’s when tempted with a chance at something new. The personality of Troy’s character shows the reasoning behind his decision to go against Rose’s trust.

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Rose’s personality brings out the theme of being devoted to loved ones, even though there is possibly pain and hurt involved. Rose is the contrary of selfish, ignoring goals and needs. She never goes outside of her boundaries of wants and needs contrary to being a wife and mother. This represents the theme of accepting roles in life and doing what’s great for others, even if it doesn’t fulfill one’s personal desires. Whereas Cory on the other hand, is portrayed as the child of an oppressive father troy. This then results to Cory growing up not truly knowing the meaning of how a good and real father-son relationship should be, and this effect’s the consequence of the play entirely. The play Is set in the Maxson’s house. The play displays the image of the Maxson’s house.

The yard has an unbuilt fence, and the house is seen as “middle class.” The setting that is represented in the play contributes the theme of an African American family struggling in a racist and segregated time. During this time, good progress had been made on the conflicts of race, such as the integration of pro sports teams. However, as a whole, America still had a genuinely long way to go on making the conflict of race better. Slavery has been around in America for over seventy years. All the characters in the play are African American, and they deal with racism every day. Some of the characters believe that there is still room from progress, whereas others are nevertheless trapped in America’s afflicted past. In the play Troy Maxson is known to be a symbol of an African American generation. Growing up in the post-World War II era, it was hard to live the perfect American life of liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Compared to his father Troy has become more successful. Troy’s father was a poor sharecropper and in no way owned his personal land or property but, instead, paid all his wages and his life to an unjust landowner. Whereas, Troy has bought his very own house, and in his relationships, he has expressed the freedom of a man to follow his personal needs in a pursuit of happiness. Troy Maxson embraces his wish to be an individual. However, the pursuit of the American Dream does not come without conflict. Troy can’t imagine a generation doing more than what he has accomplished. He remains attached to his expectations of what a man can accomplish in the world. In the play “Fences” by August Wilson it portrays many important symbols.

However, the most important symbol, is the symbol of a fence. A fence in the play serves a symbol of conflicting desires. One way we can identify this symbol is when Troy and Rose seek to build a fence to keep the world out of their lives. Rose’s wish for a fence symbolizes the way in which she seeks to guard her family. She is aware of the rough past tory has had, and she knows that it’ll always have its negative effect on him, she also knows that there are times where tory could make life threating choices that would forever affect her and her child. Rose’s fence seeks to keep her family in and the unsafe world out. It portrays a symbol of protection. And even though Troy seeks to protect his family and his way of life, the fence additionally becomes an image of discontent in his own life. In his disagreement with Rose, Troy exclaims that he has spent his whole existence imparting for the family. He has been the protector and defender of a quiet, everyday life. The fence, therefore, does now not guard Troy however as an alternative continues him from attaining his final want for individuality and self-actualization.

In conclusion, we can tell that the play “Fences” written by August Wilson portrayed many literary devices and elements such as character, setting, and conflict were used to illuminate the dramatic issues of the play. It also represented different types of Themes such as the theme responsibility, dreams, and freedom, which all work together to create the overall message of “Fences.” The overall message was to portray a challenging lifestyle of a white dominated society and the venture of providing for a family during the late 1950’s.


31 August 2020

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