Conflicts and tensions between family members and friends are key elements in August Wilson's play, Fences. The main character, Troy Maxon, has struggled his whole life to be a responsible person and fulfill his duties in any role that he is meant to play. In turn, however, he has created conflict through his forbidding manner. The author illustrates how the effects of Troy's stern upbringing cause him to pass along a legacy of bitterness and anger which creates tension and conflict in his relationships with his family.
Troy?s relationship with his father was one, which produced much tension, and had a strong influence on Troy?s relationships with his loved ones as an adult. He had very little respect for his father because his father did not, in Troy?s mind, make his family a priority. At an early age, Troy?s father beat him ?like there was no tomorrow? because he caught Troy getting ?cozy? with a girl (549; I,4). Troy said that ?right there is where [he became] a man? (549; I,4). It was at that moment that Troy made the decision to free himself from his father?s power. Despite the fact that he did eventually escape his father?s wrath, the struggle with his father?s aggressive behavior and lack of love resulted in a coldness that resided in Troy?s heart toward life and love. His father did not care about his children; children were there to work for the food that he ate first. Troy describes his feelings toward his father by saying, ?Sometimes I wish I hadn?t known my daddy. He ain?t cared nothing about no kids. A kid to him wasn?t nothing. All he wanted was for you to learn how to walk so he could start you to working? (548; I,4). Although Troy had very little respect for his father and vowed to be nothing like him, many of his father?s harsh personality traits show up in his own personality. Despite Troy?s continuous attempts to push himself away from anything he had ever known about his father, the inheritance of such irrational behavior was inevitable because it was all he had ever known. The inheritance of this angry behavior was, in turn, the cause of his damaging relationships with his own family. Just as Troy endured his father?s cruel ways, Troy?s family is left with no choice but to try to learn to live with his similar ways.
Troy?s family is one that strives to maintai...
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...y as a responsible person. He overlooks Cory?s efforts to please him and make a career for his son, learned from his past with his own father, is responsible for the tension that builds between him and Cory. This tension will eventually be the cause of the lost relationship that is identical to the lost relationship that is identical to the lost relationship between Troy and his father.
Troy?s damaging relationship with his father had a dual effect in his life. It created a conscious awareness of how not to conduct his life and built fences, which inevitably recreated his father in his personality. These fences shaped and formed his relationships with his son. Due to his conscious efforts to not become what he did hold that were his father?s. The narrowness of his thoughts and ideas about life made him an almost impossible person with whom to have a relationship. These flaws permanently changed the lives of the people around him and built barriers which were too solid to ever be broken.
Wilson, August. Fences. New Worlds of Literature: Writings from America?s Many Cultures. 2nd ed.
Jerome Beauty and J. Paul Hunter. New York: Norton, 1994. 522-575.
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