Troy's Ideology and Occupation in Fences by August Wilson


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In Fences, the main character Troy obtains an occupation that changes his value systems, his character traits, and his overall ideology. Not only did it affect his lifestyle, it eventually affects those around him. The newly found ideology Troy obtains significantly effects the development of the story's plot.
     Troy has a lower-middle/working class occupation - a garbage man. In Troy's mind, this job is something that enables him to survive thus far. Growing up, Troy experiences many hardships. Escaping an abusive father, Troy corrupts his life with a passion for thievery and irresponsible actions. For example, Troy impregnates a woman; the woman gave birth to Lyons. Because of Troy's irresponsible lifestyle, he is sent to jail; Lyons grows up without a father. Upon obtaining this job, Troy thinks it is one of the most stable aspects of his life. Stability, security, and success - this occupation brings many enhancements into Troy's life. Having a steady income changes his personal ideology of what character traits an African-American male should possess; in particular, what character traits his sons should possess. Troy's son Lyons now lives as a musician. To Troy, musicianship as a career does not provide that level of stability his job as a garbage man provides. Telling Lyons his point of view, Troy says the following:
You know why I got it? You living the fast life...wanna be a musician...running around in them clubs and things...then, you learn to take care of yourself. You ain't gonna find me going and asking nobody for nothing.
     (464)
Troy, without the use of force, wishes Lyons, would change his ways to match his new ideology; on the contrary, Troy attempts to force Cory, his youngest son, to adopt these beliefs. In fact, Troy wants Cory to exemplify a more developed and enriched ideology than he himself has. Telling Lyons his point of view, Troy says the following:
You go on and get your book learning so you can work yourself up in that A&P or learn how to fix cars or build houses or something, get you a trade. That way you have something can't nobody take away from you. You go on and learn how to put your hands to some good use. Besides hauling people's garbage.
     (476)
Similarly, both Cory and Lyons seek careers that lack stability and security - something Troy finds unfaithful to his beliefs. Cory yearns to join a collegiate football team. To supplement the principals he obtains from his steady occupation, Troy forces Cory to desist his collegiate football career and return to his steady occupation working at the A&P.

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Clearly, Troy's occupation greatly influenced the development of the plot. Seen as an unrelenting intolerable force, Cory grew to despise his father. Troy perspective on life changes for the better; however, you can not force your believes onto a another human being without that person feeling somewhat oppressed. Throughout the story, Cory feels as if his father is dictating his identity. Tiring of the constant struggle to find his identity on his own, Cory left. He did not appreciate Troy forcing his value systems onto him. Cory's mother Rose lives without a son for a while; Troy never encounters Cory again. The newly found value system Troy gains from having a secure and stable job is clearly significant to the development of the story.
Working as a garbage man changes Troy?s beliefs; he now believes in order to be a successful African-American male in society, you must acquire a stable and secure occupation with a steady income. His occupation enables him have a more responsible demeanor. As this may appear beneficiary, Troy attempts to enforce these newly found value system onto his sons. The plot is significantly affected because Cory leaves his family ? Rose is left without a son. Although Troy?s ideology improves for the better, his familial surroundings deteriorate.


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