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Fences is a play written by August Wilson. The play is based on the life of an African American man named Troy Maxon (Wilson). The play revolves around Troy and his family's struggles in attaining their dreams. In the play, Troy is portrayed as a man who has a bitter and spiteful attitude towards the world due to the circumstances around him. Troy was born in an unloving family and has seen poverty since childhood. His father was also abusive. It was his dream to become a baseball player, but his dream was shattered when, despite being a competent player, he was rejected because he was black. This incident made him extremely frustrated and hopeless. His frustration influenced not only his life but his family as well.
Troy was married to Rose and had two sons, Lyson and Cory. The play depicts that Corey and Troy were not on good terms. Like Troy, it was also Corey’s dream to be a successful and well-known baseball player. However, Troy did not allow his son to be a part of a baseball team. Several reasons are there due to which Troy prohibits his son to be a baseball player.
The first and foremost reason for not allowing Corey to be a baseball player was Troy's experience. He did not want his son to face discrimination as he faced. He knew how it feels when, despite possessing all the qualities of a baseball player, an individual gets rejected due to his color. He wanted to protect Corey from the same situation and hopelessness. Although he knew that a baseball coach was traveling from North Carolina to recruit Corey, he prohibited him by not signing the parent's permission form by saying, "I'm the boss around here" (Wilson, act I, scene III). Corey argued with his father and gave several reasons that the world has changed, and now black people are also treated with respect. He gave various examples of successful baseball players who are black. Also, Troy's wife Rose persuaded him to let Corey play, yet he stands strong on his decision. The conversation between Troy and his son Corey solidifies their position as two individuals who have a common passion yet are separated by the generation. As Corey was giving examples of many black baseball players, Troy's response to Corey's arguments was irrational.
When Corey gave the example of Hank Aaron, a famous black baseball player who hit forty-three home runs, Troy refused to accept the truth. He said, "Hank ain’t nobody" (Wilson, act I, scene II). This situation highlighted another reason due to which Troy was not allowing Corey to be a baseball player. Deep down, Troy was jealous of his son as he did not get the opportunity to play a major league, yet his son had the opportunity. Also, he was rejected by the coach, but Corey's coach was traveling from North Carolina only to recruit him. Troy may be against his son's wish of becoming a baseball player because he never wanted his son to be able to live the dream that he was never able to live. Although, Troy wanted his son to be successful and wanted him to live a life where he never had to beg for money, yet still, he did not want his son to be a baseball player and attain his dream.
Another reason why Troy was not letting Corey be a baseball player was poverty. Troy and his family were lower-middle class working for a family. All family members have to work hard to bear their expenses. Corey was also doing a job to support his family. Troy did not want Corey to quit his job as he had the idea of what poverty can do to a vulnerable individual. Troy hails from a poor family, and due to lack of money, he robbed a bank and accidentally killed a person (Pirnajmuddin 42). Due to this, he had to go to prison. So he did not want his son to follow his footsteps and end up in prison. Troy wanted his son to continue doing a job and save money rather than indulging in a baseball game practice. Troy did not want his son to even practice for selection in the baseball team. However, Corey was determined and decided to leave the job and focus on training.
When Troy knew about Corey's decision, he became furious. The main reason for him getting angry was that he never wanted Corey to leave his job. According to Troy, a stable is the only way an individual can escape poverty and indulge in sports was a waste of time. Troy assumed that his son would also be discriminated against because of his color and, therefore, will never be able to accomplish his dreams (Birdwell 87). Troy, then told the recruiter to leave and became a hurdle for Corey in attaining his dream. Troy did not realize that by prohibiting his son from playing baseball, he subconsciously is doing the same what the society did to him when he was young. He did not think that by getting selected in the baseball team, his son would be able to get a college education while also pursuing his dream of becoming a baseball player. Also, Troy did not consider the importance of Corey's selection in the baseball team as Corey could also become famous like many black baseball players and could lead a stable life. Although Troy wanted to make his son realize the importance of money and that nothing in life comes easy yet by not letting Corey play his favorite sport, he was not only ruining Corey's future but shattering his dreams as well.
Birdwell, Christine. "Death as a Fastball on the Outside Corner:" Fences'" Troy Maxson and the American Dream." Aethlon 8.1 (1990): 87.
Pirnajmuddin, Hossein, and Shirin Sharar Teymoortash. "Space in August Wilson's Fences." Studies in Literature and Language 3.2 (2011): 42.
Wilson, August, and Bill Moyers. August Wilson. United States Information Agency, Television and Film Service, 1988.
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