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Transcript of FENCES
Major Conflicts/ Themes
Let's Play a Game!
~one volunteer needed per table
1. Clue-givers may not use any taboo words, including abbreviations and any part of the taboo word.
2. Clue-givers may not use sound effects or use gestures to indicate the clue word.
3. First person to guess the word earns a point for his/her table.
Born to a German father and a African American Mother in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Wilson's real father drifted in and out of his family during his childhood.
Wilson faced discrimination throughout childhood due to the color of his skin, causing his to drop out of school.
Wilson was involved with the 60's black power movement.
Lloyd Richards, Drama director at Yale university, was the first to realize Wilson's talent as a writer, helping him start his career
Fences takes place in a large city, most likely Pittsburgh since August Wilson was born and raised there
The entire book takes place in the degrading two
story home of Troy Maxson
The house is fenced in between larger urban buildings
On the front yard sits lumber waiting to be used in the construction of a fence.
There is a large tree with a ball of rags hanging
from it for Troy to hit as if it were a baseball.
Troy Maxson, a black garbage man living in urban 50's America struggles with himself over providing for his family and feeling secure about himself. Troy forbids his Son from living his dream of playing football, leading his son to hate him. Troy cheats on his wife Rose, ruining his the relationship with her. Troy also debates with his wife about the life of his mentally handicapped brother who's government aid paid for Troy's house.
The story revolves around, the conflicts in Troy Maxson's family.
Troy struggles with his son Cory over opposing views on what Cory will do with his future.
Troy struggles with his wife after she finds out that he cheated on her.
Troy also figuratively struggles with death, and fencing himself in from the rest of the world
Death: Troy battles with his own age, constantly reminiscing past.
Fence: Troy build a fence to secure his life at home but never manages to finish it.
Race: Troy is trapped in his skin (limited because he is black)
the protagonist, a 53 year old African American man who works for the sanitation department
a former baseball star in the Negro Leagues but his abilities declined before African Americans were permitted to play in the Major Leagues
Troy's character is the centerpiece that all of the other relationships in Fences gather around. Troy is husband to Rose, father to Lyons, Cory, and Raynell, and brother to Gabriel.
a tragic-hero who has excessive pride for his role in his family.
depressed by his lack of progress in society.
Troy's wife and mother of his second child, Cory.
Rose is a forty-three year-old African American stay at home mother
she requests that Troy and Cory build a fence in their yard showing her desire to encase the things that are closest to her
Unlike Troy, Rose is a realist, not a romantic longing for what her life could have been like if she was not African American
she is very accepting of her son Cory's dreams of playing Football; later in the book she is also accepting of Troy's illegitimate daughter Raynell
teenage son of Troy and Rose Maxson.
senior in high school, very intellectual. Already has college recruiters coming to see him play football.
he is a very compassionate, intelligent, and enthusiastic boy
has the talent and determination to realize his dreams
comes of age during the course of the play when he challenges and confronts Troy and leaves home
Cory comes home from the Marines in the final scene of the play, attempting to defy Troy by refusing to go to his funeral
"Alright Mr. Death. See now... I'm gonna tell you what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna take and build me a fence around this yard. See? I'm gonna build me a fence around what belongs to me. And I want you to stay on the other side" (77).
"I took all my feelings, my wants and needs, my dreams and I buried them inside you. I planted a seed and watched it and prayed over it. I planted myself inside you and waited to bloom. And it didn't take me no eighteen years to find out that the soil was hard and rocky and it wasn't never gonna bloom" (71).
"You ain't never gave me nothing! You ain't never done anything but hold me back. Afraid I was gonna be better than you. All you ever did was tray and make me scared of you. I used to tremble every time you called my name. Every time I heard your footsteps in the house" (87).
-start off asserting feminist positions
-ultimately conform to traditional gender roles and historical expectations
-of men and women
-of men from their children
~"Being a Man"
>a legendary career as a baseball slugger
*closed off to him by racism
>being a dutiful husband and provider
*gets by hauling white people’s garbage, but he was only able to buy a house by taking money from his mentally disabled brother
>a long-time adulterous relationship
*destroying his claim to being a good husband and father
>constantly forcing Cory to back down
>destroys Cory’s chances for college
>teaching Cory to be a man
>itching to challenge his father
>emotionally stiff and withdrawn
>most traditionally masculine career