7 December 2017
“Fences” by August Wilson describes the life of Troy Maxson, a 53-year-old Afro-American man, trying to take care of his family, with his job as a garbage man, while dealing with the conflicts between him and his family. Troy doesn’t allow his son to play football out of fear of having his son be treated the way he was when playing sports. He cheats on his wife with another woman and he takes a portion of the government checks that his brother gets for being a wounded soldier. Troy has a self-destructive character. He alienates those close to him and denies himself happiness. Troy’s experience with sports as well as the fact that he cheats on his wife proves this statement.
Firstly, Troy’s harshness with Cory can be explained through the hardships he faced as a young man. Troy does not allow his son to play football in college: “The white man ain’t gonna let you get nowhere with that football noway” (Wilson 1044). Troy couldn’t pursue his baseball career when he was younger because of his skin color: “telling me I come too early. If you could play… then they ought to have let you play” (Wilson 1030). Even if he doesn’t explicitly say it, Troy was crushed by what happened to him in sports when he was younger. The fact that he repeatedly mentions how he was treated in baseball proves so: “I was hitting .432 with thirty-seven home runs!...We had better pitching in the Negro leagues…I just wasn’t the right color. Hell, I’m fifty-three years old and can do better than Selkirk’s .269 right now!” (Wilson 1029, 1043 & 1046). Clearly, Troy is affected emotionally by the challenges he suffered as a black man in baseball. Even if he is very harsh with his son, he simply wants to protect him from what happened to himself in the past: “I decided seventeen years ago that boy wasn’t getting involved in no sports. Not after what they did to me in sports” (Wilson 1046). Even if times have changed since Troy was playing, the emotional impact he suffered was too big for him to understand that the world around him has become less racist. Also, Cory just wants his dad to be proud of him: “Everything that boy do… he do for you” (Wilson 1046). Because Troy is very harsh with his son, he simply ends up alienating his son and denying himself the possibility...