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Elusive Perfection In Wilson's Fences Essay

995 words - 4 pages

The play, 'Fences', presents a slice of life in a black tenement and is set in the late 1950's, through 1965.  The main character, Troy Maxson, is a garbage collector.  Throughout the play he rebels and frustrates as he struggles for fairness in a society which seems to offer none.  His actions and behavior towards his family can be interpreted by a reader as those of a violent and bad father.  However, soon one notices that beneath a mask of cruelty and toughness there is an individual who takes responsibility for his family no matter how difficult circumstances may seem.  Hence, he is a good father who tries to keep his family together and provide necessities for them.

            As one reads the play, he or she starts to criticize Troy Maxson?s behavior as of a patronizing person.  However, if a reader analyzes the situation he was in he or she wouldn?t be so stern in his judgements.  In my view he is not a bad father, simply his life experiences have shaped his personality.  Through his behavior and acts he wants to pass on to his family the right principles for living, which will guide them through their lives.  Troy?s oldest son, Lyons who is thirty-four, fancies himself as a musician.  Troy realizes that his son is becoming more and more caught up in the idea of being a musician and is in constant need of money. He is reluctant to loan his son money when he needs it because he wants him to be able to support himself by having a decent job.  It is shown when he says, ?I don?t know why he don?t go and get him a decent job and take care of that woman he got.?  Troy tries to be a good father but he uses an old-fashioned approach when he tries to explain to his sons how to make it in the real world.  He doesn?t know how to present to them the good that he means because he is locked in an old state of mind.  His old-fashioned ideas are reflected when he refused to speak with a recruiter, and sign the permission papers so that his other son Cory could play football.  Troy understands that he had hurt his son by not signing the permission papers. However, being an excellent baseball player himself, he learned that chances for a black man are not always equal in this country.  He boldly believes that the white men will not let his son Cory get anywhere with that football stuff and doesn?t want him to be hurt just like he was.  It is exemplified in Troy?s words, ?I decided seventeen year ago that boy wasn?t getting involved in no sports.  Not after what they did to me in the sports.?

            It is hard for Troy to live in the present having one foot in the past and one in the future.  Hence, the relationship between him, his wife and son becomes...

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