Fences Conflict and How It Affects the Work Essay Fences, by August Wilson, is a drama that focuses on the characteristics of blacklife in the mid to late twentieth century and the strains of society on African Americans. Set in a small neighborhood of a big city, this play holds much conflict between a father,Troy Maxson, and his two sons, Lyons and Cory. By analyzing the sources of thisconflict, one can better appreciate and understand the way the conflict contributes to theThe first conflict in this play develops between Troy and his 34-year old sonLyons.
This conflict is introduced when Lyons appears at the house on Troy’s payday toborrow 10 dollars, an occurrence that is common at the Maxson household. AlthoughTroy knows that he will let Lyons have the money, he harasses Lyons over the issuesaying, “. . . The only time I see this nigger is when he wants something. That’s the onlytime I see him.
” The source of this conflict lies in Troy’s experiences and attitudetoward the black cause. Troy is the victim of a generation with limited opportunities inthe industrial world and toils everyday to support his family and stay on top of hisstruggle for survival. Troy has come to believe, from his experiences, that blacks cannotget something for nothing and that life does not owe blacks anything. Due to this, Toy”fences in” everything that he loves to protect his possessions from the monster ofsociety.
Thus there is a symbolization of Troy building a physical fence in the yard butbuilding an emotional fence of protection around his family and friends. He believes thatblacks owe it to themselves to make an honest, hard-earned living and that is the onlyway to survive. Troy states sarcastically that Lyans is blowing his money while living onthe streets trying to live the “fast life” of a musician. In his pride, Troy states: “.
. . Youain’t gonna find me going and asking nobody for nothing. I done spent too many yearswithout.
” Lyans, on the other hand, is part of a new ambitious generation of blacks whobelieve that they can make something of themselves in an opportunistic world. It isevident that Lyans believes that there is a hope for success for blacks in the world’ssociety. Lyans deals with the world and its struggles through his music and feels that hismusic gives him a sense of belonging and a reason for existence. Lyans, in contrast withhis father, believes that they are “. .
. two different people. . .
” and that they just havedifferent methods of handling the world. Troy believes that Lyans is blind to theharshness of society on blacks and reacts in scrutiny to his son’s wanting 10 dollars. Thisconflict between Troy and Lyans emphasizes Troy’s flaw in his relationships. Troy is soworried that he is going to be taken advantage of and is so bitter because of his pastexperiences with whites, that he creates a “fence” or barrier between his relationshipwith his family. It is evident that Lyans, who quickly pays back the 10 dollars, wants acloser relationship with his father but does not succeed due to his father’s bitter wordsThe second conflict in Fences involves Troy and his youngest son, Cory. Cory isa 17 or 18 yr.
old boy who enters coming home from football practice. Troy, whenseeing Cory, immediately attacks him verbally: “. . .
The garbage sitting in thereoverflowing. . . you ain’t done none of your chores. . .
” Following this, Troy and Cory’sconflict arises due to a difference in priorities between them. First of all, Troy prioritizesretarring the roof over getting a new TV while Cory believes in getting a new TV nowand fixing the roof when it starts leaking. Troy is trying to teach Cory responsibility butis going about it in the wrong way by damaging their relationship with harsh words. Next, instead of maintaining a job at the A&P like his father wishes, Cory wants to playfootball with hopes of earning a football scholarship to a college . Troy orders Cory tohold a job at the A&P as a first priority and play football as a second priority.
Theconflict between Troy and Cory goes even deeper concerning Cory being recruited by ascout from North Carolina. Troy refuses to sign the permission statement in an effort tothwart Cory’s dream. .