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Impact of Racism in Fences, by August Wilson Essay

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Racism is everywhere; it is all around us and at most times it resides within us. Racism basically refers to the characterization of people (ethnicity based) with certain distinct traits. It is a tool with which people use to distinguish themselves between each other, where some use it to purposely inflict verbal, physical or mental attacks on others while some use it to simply distinguish or differentiate from one another. It all depends on the context in which it is used. The play Fences by August Wilson, takes place during the late 1950’s through to 1965, a period of time when the fights against segregation are barely blossoming results. The main protagonist, Troy Maxson is an African American who works in the sanitation department; he is also a responsible man whose thwarted dreams make him prone to believing in self-created illusions. Wilson's most apparent intention in the play ‘Fences’, is to show how racial segregation creates social and economic gaps between African Americans and whites. Racism play a very influential role in Troy’s but more importantly it has been the force behind his actions that has seen him make biased and judgmental decisions for himself and his family. Lessons from the play intend to shed light on how racism can affect the mental and physical lives of Troy Maxson and his family.
The trials of Troy’s life are filled with racial discrimination which mentally scars him. His attitude and behavior towards others are governed by experiences and in most cases he uses the symbol of death in his fictional stories to represent the oppression of the white man. The play Fences, which is largely about Troy, begins with Troy entertaining Bono and Rose with an epic tale of his struggle with death or in other word...


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...fence it was already too late. His actions and decisions had already destroyed his family to the point where the meaning of the fence was rendered inert. The effects of racism clearly affected Troy’s entire role. The play also goes on to suggest that social and political forces are pivotal roles that impacted the lives of African Americans during the 1950’s and that years of oppression were factors that affected the way in which black people lived.
In the end Troy died living behind a trail of animosity between him and his family. In my opinion his story is that of a tragic hero. He began being loved and praised by his family but eventually and gradually, he began to succumb to the weight of racism. It can be said that the effects of racism finally took the better of Troy, and consequentially it ruled his life. Like his fictional stories, death finally took him.



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