Fences is a play written by August Wilson in 1985. The play provides an accurate analogy of the evolving African-American experience. The major theme of Fences is the relationship between races. The play is fictional that has Troy Maxson and Rose Maxson as the main characters. Troy, a 53-year old man, heads a family where he struggles to sustain (Nadel & Alan). He is a Negro baseball league player who now works as a sanitation worker. He is a man full of bitterness whose impact affects the loved ones. The character was once imprisoned due to a murder that he accidentally committed during a robbery. During his imprisonment, he continuously practised baseball that he became excellent in the game. However, he had not yet made it to Major League Baseball due to his color. He was therefore not able to earn enough money from the game to save or even sustain his family. He opts to do the only available job, trash collecting, to try to meet the needs of his family (Wooden & Isaiah Matthew, p.123). Troy lives with his wife Rose, his son Cory and his younger brother Gabriel who is an ex-soldier. According to the narrator, Rose is a generous woman willing to do anything to make members of her family happy.
On the other hand, Troy has a cloud of defeat hanging around him though he still clings on his former greatness. Troy has prejudice inclined to his former greatness a fact that makes him treat his wife selfishly. He does not like to acknowledge the mistakes that he does instead he looks for a reason to justify them. For instance, he doesn’t find it wrong to impregnate his mistress. Instead, he feels he was justified to impregnate Roberta since he gets comfort that he doesn’t get in his home from her. Troy does not treat Rose to her expectations, but she gave up chasing the attention from her husband, and she decided to settle for the sake of her family. Rose is an encouraging woman who continually reminds her husband on the need to work hard to deal with the ever-pressing needs. Troy’s way become conflicting in the play Fences, resulting in the changes of the role of Rose as a woman, mother and housewife.
Rose being a vibrant character in the play she tries to solve the conflicts that occur in her house. Although she does not openly become aggressive towards her husband after impregnating his mistress she points out to him that he did not do the right thing (Nadel & Alan). As a mature woman, she tries to find out the reason why he had an affair with the mistress, but Troy does not have a genuine reason. She tries to make him understand how much the family has been supporting him thus he should not go looking for solace from people outside the family. About Cory, Rose tries to solve the conflict by asking her husband to give his sons freedom to choose what he feels is right for him. She lets him know that it is essential to enable him to mould his life by accepting what he needs to do with his future. About Lyons, she asks the husband to know that they are different and their reasoning and modes of coping with stressing factors are different. Troy should not see Lyons as a weak person who is vulnerable to manipulation and misuse by the whites. Instead, he should allow him to handle challenges like racism with the modes he finds to be effective.
Rose endures the many challenges that she encounters, but she changes her characters due to the same. One of the problems that she faces is lack of loyalty from her husband. Troy goes ahead to have an affair with a woman known to her (Wilson, August, and Seret Scott). The issue continues to an extent, she gets pregnant from him. The sad thing about it is that Troy justifies that he has a genuine reason for doing so. That becomes ironic because Rose does her best to make sure that the husband receives all the attention he requires. Being the sole provider of emotional support to the husband, he is expected to give back to her by being loyal. Rose is also having a challenge of arbitrating her husband and Cory. Cory has a passion for joining a football club and making it his carrier. Troy is not for the idea, and he restricts him for joining football which makes Cory feel that he had been deprived his freedom which fuels an argument between the two. The conflict between them hits up when Troy thinks that it will be a waste for Cory to consider football as a carrier. The other battle is between Troy and his son Lyons. Troy is not comfortable that his 34-year old son shows up in his place on a payday to borrow ten dollars. According to Troy, his son being blind to the mistreatment that they receive from the whites will give them room to misuse him. However, Lyons believes they are different individuals and have their ways to deal with the challenges.
Rose is a strong character who has various way of coping with life challenges that she encounters. She suffers from anxiety resulting from racial discrimination and patriarchal domination (Wessling, Joseph p.125) Rose can deal with her husband’s betrayal of having an affair with another woman. Despite the anxiety rising from the pressure created by her husband, she still respects him. Rose is a supporting wife who stands by her husband when he is preoccupied with a feeling of death and desperation. Every time Troy talks about evil or death, she tries to stop him and instead brings up a topic that is exciting that they can freely engage in. She remains the only source of emotional support that is not conditional. She continues to comfort him even when nobody else seems s to be concerned with what he is going through. In the entire play, she is a loving woman who does not discriminate who to serve. She loves Lyon even though he is her stepson. She treats him just like his son when he comes visiting them at their home. She is also an intellectual who can detect when things are wrong and act accordingly. When she finds Gabriel suffering she knows that Troy is responsible, and she goes ahead to confront him about the same. Rose is confident enough to point out to Troy that his carelessness and indifference are responsible for what Gabriel is going through. Despite the discrimination from the whites she remarkably leads the family to endure and not fight back physically. She is an open book which can be read when she is in pain or when disappointed. However, she is in control of her emotions and does not let them interfere with her relations with others.
Rose has a character that has persisted throughout the play. However, during different instances, she has revealed a character that depicts that she is defenceless. The author has brought out the difference between being motherly responsible and being a wife to your husband (Wooden & Isaiah Matthew, p. 125). She is wise enough to know where her intervention as the mother in the house is required to get things right. When Troy makes Gabriel suffer, she confronts him and lets him know that his carelessness has caused Gabriel the pain. Rose also knows that Lyons is not his biological son. But when he visits, she gives him the best hospitality. That way she tries to create peace within the house ensure there is respect amongst each one of them regardless of the existing differences. The wise woman has a word to use to comfort her husband when he is going through emotional distress. She is always prohibiting him from talking about evil and impending death. Rose knows that entertaining such ideas from Troy will worsen the situation. Hence, she comes up with exciting stories that divert his attention from the feeling of death.
Troy caused so much suffering in Roses life, she had planted her hopes and dreams in him. She maintains herself after all the infertility, she does not let him become a bitter woman. She accepts Raynell even though that was the outcome of her husband’s betrayal. After Troy’s death she still finds it in her to show respect for the man and tries to bring the family together for him.