Protection of Values
A tricky question we ask ourselves in life is what boundaries do we have for our life? How we keep boundaries? Shall we cross our boundary? What should our consequence be? In 1986, August Wilson published the play Fences which exhibits the life of an African American family during segregation. The protagonist of the play is the father of three children; all from separate women, Troy Maxson. Wilson uses the title of the play to create a metaphor in the play, which is symbolic. Throughout the play the characters build “fences” to create boundaries, provide safety, and give a meaning to family. Rose, Troy’s wife, builds fences to protect her own vulnerability through her Christianity, in the family’s home, and through her husband, Troy.
Rose uses her Christianity to build a fence around her. In Act I, Scene II, Rose sings to herself “Jesus, be a fence all around me every day” (Wilson 1478). Rose is devoted to her children, but tends to use church as a way to escape all of her conflicts instead of confronting her problems. Escaping to church leads her to her most powerful fence in the play, her Lord, Jesus Christ. She uses her faith to keep her loved ones safe from forces that may threaten or harm them. With such an unhappy marriage Rose realizes that woman can have a life outside their home as well as men. While battling her marriage and realizing it is failing, “Rose finds her strength in religion; she turns to the church” (O’Reilly 20).
The beginning setting occurs on the front porch of the Maxson’s house. The small dirt lawn is partially fenced until the last scene (Wilson 1468). The fence is represented in Roses eyes as “an expression of her desire to define and protect what she values”(O’Reilly 20). Rose nags Troy to finish building the fence in the yard, “Go on, Troy! You supposed to be putting up this fence” (Wilson 1482). In Act II, Scene I of the play Troy, Cory and Bono work on the fence. Both Troy and Cory are uncertain why...
Cited: O’Reilly, Mollie Wilson. “Fertile ground: August Wilson’s Fences.” Commonweal 137.11 (2010): 20. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 Apr. 2012.
Wilson, August. Fences. 1986. Rpt. in Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 2nd ed. Ed. Robert DiYanni. Boston: McGraw- Hill, 2008. Print.
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