The first time I read August Wilson's Fences for english class, I was angry. I was angry at Troy Maxson, angry at him for having an affair, angry at him for denying his son, Cory, the opportunity for a football scholarship.I kept waiting for Troy to redeem himself in the end of the play, to change his mind about Cory, or to make up with Ruth somehow. I wanted to know why, and I didn't, couldn't understand. I had no intention of writing my research paper on this play, but as the semester continued, and I immersed myself in more literature, Fences was always in the back of my mind, and, more specifically, the character of Troy Maxson. What was Wilson trying to say with this piece? The more that this play stuck in my head, the more I was impressed with Wilson as a playwright. What talent, to create such a character, to produce a work that wouldn't leave me alone, but, as time wore on, produced more and more questions.
As I reflected more and more on Wilson's masterpiece, my anger turned to curiosity Instead of my curiosity waning, it grew. I felt like I was unraveling a huge ball of yarn. In a play about family, a million different issues lived. I was astounded at the number of issues that Wilson touched upon, issues ranging from family relationships, to problems in the workplace, racial tensions, and infidelity. And under each one of these was another, underlying issue, the reason, or the catalyst that enabled these to prevail. Part of the genius of this piece is that it is like an onion, with many layers, and can be interpreted on many different levels.
At first, I despised the character of Troy Maxson. I could not feel sympathy for a man who had achieved a certain level of sati...
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...ther people build fences to keep people in" (Wilson, 61). Troy Maxson built them to isolate himself and to keep out the people he loved the most.
Bogumil, Mary L. Understanding August Wilson. University of South Carolina Press, Colombia:1999.
Elkins, Marilyn. August Wilson: A Casebook. Garland Publishing Inc., New York: 2000.
Nadel, Alan. May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson. University of Iowa Press, U.S.:1994.
Pereira, Kim. August Wilson and the African American Odyssey. University Of Illinois Press, Chicago:1995.
Shannon, Sandra G. The Dramatic Vision of August Wilson. Howard University Press, Washington D.C.:1995.
Wilson, August. Fences. Penguin Books U.S.A. Inc., New York:1986.
Wolfe, Peter. August Wilson: Twayne's United States Authors Series. Ed. Frank Day. Twayne Publishers, New York:1999.
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