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Baseball As A Plot And A Metaphor: The Play, Fences By August Wilson

1240 words - 5 pages

Baseball is America’s pastime. The sport of baseball goes back all the way to civil war era, 1839. August Wilson saw the potential this sport had to send a message, and incorporated it into his play Fences. His collection of ten plays portrays the hardships of African Americans for every decade of the twentieth century (Wilson 961). Fences, in particular portrays the nineteen fifties (Wilson 961). When one reads Fences, yes it is about the struggle of African Americans in the time period, but it also incorporates baseball as multiple plot elements, and a metaphor for life.
The play, “Fences” by August Wilson describes the life of an African-American family that is por. Troy Maxson, the father of the family, was a baseball player in the Negro League but never made it to the Majors League. The play is about Troy’s struggle with his children and wife. He has a son named Lyons who doesn’t live with the family but still begs Troy for money. Troy’s main trouble is with his son Cory. Cory wants to become a football player but Troy disagrees. Cory gave up his job and school studies to focus on football but Troy doesn’t like this and he kicks him out of the house. During all of this, Troy is dealing with racial prejudice at his work. His boss will not allow blacks to drive the garbage trucks, but after Troy’s pleading, his boss allows him to drive the truck and he becomes the first black man to drive a truck in the entire city of Pittsburgh. Cory leaves the house and doesn’t return until 8 years later when his father dies. August Wilson wrote this play because he wanted to show the racial tensions as well as the family tensions he experienced while he was a kid.

Metaphors are an important part of any story. In this particular story, Fences, the author uses many baseball metaphors to help explain to the reader in a way the reader might find it easier to understand. One of the first baseball metaphors used is relatively near the beginning, when Troy is telling Bono, his friend, about how he sees death as a “Fastball to the outside corner” (Wilson 970). This means that he is not scared of death; rather he is ready and eager for it to come so he can hit it away. The next example of a metaphor is when Troy gets into an argument with his son Cory, about Troy taking Cory off the football team and canceling his meeting with the recruiter (Wilson 995). At the end of the argument Troy tells Cory that he has one strike, and he better not strike out (Wilson 995). He was pretty much telling him he made a big mistake, and he better not make two more. Then we get a big long metaphor form Troy, trying to explain why he cheated on Rose (Wilson 1001). Where he says that, “you born with two strikes on you before you come to the plate… You can’t afford a call strike… I bunted. When I found you and Cory and a half way decent job… I was safe… I was on first looking for one of them boys to knock me in. To get me home” (Wilson 1001). He had lived a hard life and was in big...

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