"Fences" By August Wilson. A Critical Analysis

Academic Paper, 2006

11 Pages, Grade: A

Abstract or Introduction

The following essay tries to critically analyse the action and plot of " Fences" by Augsut Wilson. Troy, a former criminal and unsuccessful although talented baseball player, now family father and garbage collector who slowly drinks himself to death, cheats on his wife, fathers little girl (half-orphan), and expels son Cory from his house. He fences his home in to prevent Death from getting at what is his, symbolically erecting fences between his family members, and finally surrenders to Death right under his “family tree” baseball in the yard, when he noticed that he has lost everything in life.

In this spirit, the hero of the story, family father Troy Maxson (53 years old; a reformed criminal), is a garbage collector and a frustrated, previously unsuccessful baseball player. He has dedicated all his pride and work to the support of his family, consisting of his wife Rose (43), a 34-year-old son from a previous marriage (Lyons, a jobless musician), a 17-year-old son (Cory, a wannabe football player) from his marriage with Rose, and a mentally disturbed brother (Gabriel) who had received a head wound in the Korean War, and whom Troy cares for since he has “defalcated” his allowance to buy himself a house.
He means no harm, but against the warnings of his true friend Bono, he commits adultery and fathers a child, whom his wife adopts when she hears that its mother died in childbirth – but from that moment on, their trusting marriage is destroyed, and she even refuses to speak to him. He, on the other hand, stagnates and refuses to acknowledge the changes that have taken place since he was a baseball player, and now that his younger son wants to become a football player, he intrigues against him and causes him to lose his place on the team. Troy likewise does not understand his older son, in whom he sees the constant money-borrower, although he always pays back.

While his wife Rose wants him to build a fence around the house, to keep within her walls the people she loves, Troy erects higher and higher fences between himself and the other family members. The conflict escalates in a violent confrontation between Troy and Cory, who are very much alike, and the father banishes the son from "his" house. When Troy finally notices that everything slipped out of his hands, he challenges Death to come within his fences and get him – and that’s what he does, in the form of a stroke or heart attack, while Troy strikes the baseball hanging from his tree.


"Fences" By August Wilson. A Critical Analysis
Southern Illinois University Carbondale  (Department of English)
ENGL 469
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
fences, august, wilson, critical, analysis
Quote paper
Dr. Christina Voss (married Lyons) (Author), 2006, "Fences" By August Wilson. A Critical Analysis, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1132994


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