Cory Maxson in August Wilson's "Fences"

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 683 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 683|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraph 1
  3. Body Paragraph 2
  4. Body Paragraph 3
  5. Body Paragraph 4
  6. Conclusion


August Wilson's play, Fences, is a profound exploration of African-American life in the 1950s, delving into themes of race, family, and personal aspirations. At the heart of this narrative is the complex relationship between Troy Maxson, the family's patriarch, and his son, Cory Maxson. Cory's character serves as a pivotal point for understanding the generational conflicts and the struggle for personal identity within the African-American community. This essay seeks to analyze Cory Maxson's role in Fences, examining how his interactions with Troy reveal broader themes of aspiration, resistance, and the quest for self-actualization.

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Body Paragraph 1

Cory Maxson represents the younger generation's desire to break free from the constraints imposed by their parents' experiences and societal limitations. Unlike his father, Troy, who was scarred by systemic racism and personal failures, Cory aspires to carve out a different path for himself through sports. His talent and passion for football symbolize a beacon of hope and a possible escape from the oppressive circumstances that defined his father's life. Cory's aspirations are a direct challenge to Troy's worldview, which is steeped in bitterness and a reluctance to believe in the possibility of change. This conflict is evident in their conversations, where Troy's cynicism about Cory's potential clashes with Cory's optimism and determination.

Body Paragraph 2

The generational conflict between Cory and Troy is further exacerbated by Troy's authoritarian parenting style. Troy's insistence on controlling his son's future stems from his own unfulfilled dreams and the harsh realities he faced as a young man. He projects his fears and disappointments onto Cory, believing that he is protecting him from inevitable heartbreak. However, this overbearing approach stifles Cory's growth and creates a rift between them. For example, when Troy prevents Cory from meeting a college recruiter, it symbolizes not only the crushing of Cory's dreams but also the broader theme of how parental authority can hinder the younger generation's pursuit of self-actualization. Cory's subsequent rebellion against Troy's control is a crucial step in his journey towards independence and self-discovery.

Body Paragraph 3

Cory's character also embodies the struggle for personal identity amidst the backdrop of societal expectations and familial pressures. Throughout the play, Cory grapples with defining himself outside of his father's shadow. This struggle is particularly poignant in the scenes where Cory confronts Troy about his treatment of the family and his refusal to acknowledge Cory's ambitions. Cory's defiance is not merely a rejection of Troy's authority but also an assertion of his own identity and values. His decision to join the Marines after leaving home signifies a desire to forge his own path and escape the cycle of resentment and limitations that Troy represents. Cory's journey is a testament to the resilience and determination required to break free from generational cycles of hardship and to pursue one's own dreams.

Body Paragraph 4

However, Cory's growth is not without its complexities. His relationship with Troy, though fraught with conflict, also shapes him in significant ways. The final act of the play, where Cory returns home for Troy's funeral, marks a moment of reconciliation and reflection. Cory's initial reluctance to attend the funeral highlights his lingering resentment, but his eventual decision to stay signifies a recognition of the complexities of his father's legacy. This moment of reconciliation is crucial as it demonstrates Cory's maturity and his ability to acknowledge the influence of his father while still pursuing his own path. It underscores the idea that personal growth often involves coming to terms with one's past and finding a way to move forward despite it.

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In conclusion, Cory Maxson's character in August Wilson's Fences serves as a powerful lens through which to examine themes of generational conflict, personal aspirations, and the quest for identity. Cory's journey from a hopeful young athlete to a man seeking his own path amidst familial and societal pressures encapsulates the struggles faced by many young African-Americans in the mid-20th century. His interactions with Troy highlight the complexities of father-son relationships and the impact of parental influence on one's aspirations. Ultimately, Cory's story is one of resilience and self-discovery, reflecting the broader human experience of striving for personal fulfillment in the face of adversity.

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This essay was reviewed by
Prof. Linda Burke

Cite this Essay

Cory Maxson in August Wilson’s “Fences”. (2024, Jun 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“Cory Maxson in August Wilson’s “Fences”.” GradesFixer, 07 Jun. 2024,
Cory Maxson in August Wilson’s “Fences”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2024].
Cory Maxson in August Wilson’s “Fences” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 07 [cited 2024 Jul 20]. Available from:
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