Characteristics Of Troy In August Wilson's Play “Fences”

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August Wilson’s play “Fences” is about how Troy Maxson plays the victim role. Troy shows and expresses how his life was growing up and express everything in baseball terms. Troy is in a world where he feels he does not belong; things do not always go his way. He holds onto the oppression, scars, and the disorder of his childhood. To Troy, a fence is used to section off part of the world as his own, as his property. For instance, he told death to stay on the stay on the other side of the fence, and if he is ready for him, then he can come in. Troy is a victim of his past because he had a difficult childhood with his father; he becomes a baseball player after being in prison for 15 years; and discrimination at work.

As a child, Troy did not have the opportunity to go to school and learn to write and read because he was forced to work in the farmland like his father. The way how Troy treats his sons are the same way he was treated when he was younger by his father. "Sometimes I wish I hadn't known my daddy. He ain't cared nothing about no kids. A kid to him wasn't nothing." "But I'll say this for him…he felt a responsibility toward us." At a young age, Troy tried to escape his father by leaving home, "I was fourteen and got to sniffing around Joe Canewell’s daughter…We done found a us a nice little spot, got real cozy with each other…my daddy was looking for me. We down there by the creek enjoying ourselves when my daddy come upon us. Surprised us. He had them leather straps off the mule and commenced to whupping me like there was no tomorrow." Troy is hypocritical because he treats his children the same way his father did him, but he looks down on his father insultingly. It's like Troy life is a mirror of his father’s life. For example, the same way Troy and his mother left his father, is the same way Cory and Rose left Troy. Troy is not willing to let Cory live the life he vision for himself, which has made a strained relationship between them.

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“I don’t want him to be like me! I want him to move as far away from my life as he can get.” Troy and Cory’s relationship is tense and bitter, caused by Troy's hostile and bitter attitude that comes from his past. Troy blames racism for keeping him from reaching his dreams and can’t let that go. But when Cory follows Troy’s path with sports, Troy disagrees with the opportunity for his son to achieve what he couldn't. Troy is jealous and protective of Cory; he is afraid Cory will achieve in the sports which he was denied of. But he is trying to protect Cory from the racism that he faced. Troy is consistently trying to shape Cory into the person he wants him to be, other than allowing him to explore possibilities and make his own decisions in life. “Just ‘cause you didn’t have a chance! You just scared I’m gonna be better than you, that’s all.” Cory is trying to create a unique identity separate from his father, but Troy is opposed to Cory’s efforts at individuality.

Troy usually thinks about life and death in baseball terms. He describes death as a "fastball on the outside corner", and argues he could always hit a home run. Troy is daring death to come for him by taunting it using the idea of baseball. Back when Troy was young he was a former Negro league baseball player and missed the opportunity to play in the major leagues. Major league baseball was segregated when Troy was a young player at the top of his game. By the time Troy was too old to be a viable team member, the first African American baseball player was recruited to the majors. That left Troy all cold and bitter, and it controls his relationship with Cory, who dreams of playing college football.

“You think only white fellows got sense enough to drive a truck. That ain’t no paper job!” Troy was discussing his fight with his boss Mr. Rand; he was fighting for the higher position for himself and the other black workers. Troy can't read or write and would not be able to do an office job. He wants to be the driver. He is tired of riding in the back of a garbage truck picking up rubbish (trash), while the white men drive the truck. At Troy workplace, white men are hired to drive the garbage trucks, while black men are hired only to collect garbage. Troy was explaining to Bono his conversation with Mr. Rand about why the white men were doing all the driving and the colored doing all the lifting. Troy said, “He told me to go down the commissioner’s office next Friday.” Troy was not afraid of getting fired. After Troy leaves the commissioner office, he wins the discrimination case and is now the first black man to drive the garbage truck.

To conclude, Troy is the father who responsibility is to take care of his family and to protect them from the racism that's going on in society. Troy feels that his son should not get into the sports because of how his life was with all the racism. He does not want his son to get denied like he was, but also in the back of his mind, he does not want him to succeed in the sports because he did not make it. Troy is holding Cory back from living his dreams; Troy destroyed his relationship with Cory. Towards the ending Troy loses his wife due to having a child with Alberta and loses his son Cory due to denying him the life of sports and messing him up from going to college. Because of Troy playing the victim of everything, he loses what more important to him, his family, and soon his life.

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Characteristics Of Troy In August Wilson’s Play “Fences” [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Jul 15 [cited 2024 Jun 18]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/characteristics-of-troy-in-august-wilsons-play-fences/
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