The Timeless Themes of Fences

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About this sample


Words: 859 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

Words: 859|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

The play “Fences” by August Wilson carries a multitude of messages that resonate with audiences across different time periods. While the issues of racial inequality and workplace discrimination may have been more prevalent when the play was first released in 1986, the timeless theme of fatherhood and family dynamics remains relevant to this day. Through the character of Troy Maxson, the play explores the complexities of providing for a family while neglecting emotional support, a message that still holds true in modern society.

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Troy’s struggles as a father and husband serve as a cautionary tale for parents everywhere. His relentless pursuit of providing for his family at the expense of emotional connection highlights the importance of balancing discipline with affection. While Troy’s desire for his children to have a better future is admirable, his inability to show love and support ultimately leads to estrangement and conflict within the family. This poignant portrayal of familial relationships serves as a reminder for parents to prioritize emotional bonds alongside practical responsibilities.

The setting of the play in 1950s Pittsburgh adds depth to Troy’s character, reflecting the historical context of racial segregation and discrimination that shaped his life. Despite facing systemic barriers to his dreams of becoming a professional baseball player, Troy’s defiance and resilience in the face of injustice resonate with audiences of all backgrounds. His triumph in becoming the first black garbage truck driver in the country symbolizes a small victory in the larger fight for equality and justice.

While some aspects of the play may seem outdated to modern audiences, the core message of “Fences” remains powerful and relevant. By exploring the complexities of family dynamics and the impact of past traumas on present actions, the play invites viewers to reflect on their own relationships and the importance of emotional connection. Through the lens of Troy Maxson’s life, audiences are reminded of the enduring significance of love, support, and forgiveness in the face of adversity.

The narrative of “Fences” unfolds against the backdrop of 1950s America, a time marked by racial segregation and social upheaval. August Wilson’s portrayal of the Maxson family in the Hill district of Pittsburgh reflects the struggles of black communities in a society rife with injustice and inequality. Through Troy Maxson’s story, the play encapsulates the larger themes of the black rights movement and the ongoing fight for equality in America.

The character of Troy Maxson embodies the legacy of racism and discrimination that shaped his life and choices. As a former baseball player denied entry into the Major Leagues due to his race, Troy’s story mirrors the larger struggles of black athletes in a segregated society. His defiance and resilience in the face of systemic barriers highlight the enduring spirit of resistance and determination within the black community.

The historical context of “Fences” offers a window into the challenges faced by black Americans in the mid-20th century. By shedding light on the realities of poverty, crime, and lack of opportunities in urban communities, the play serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing quest for justice and equality. Troy’s journey from a sharecropper’s son to a groundbreaking garbage truck driver symbolizes the resilience and tenacity of black individuals in the face of adversity.

While the societal landscape has evolved since the time of “Fences,” the play’s themes of racial injustice and family dynamics continue to resonate with audiences today. By preserving the historical accuracy of the story, the production of “Fences” offers a valuable opportunity for viewers to engage with the past and reflect on the enduring struggles for equality and dignity.

Portraying the character of Troy Maxson in “Fences” requires a deep understanding of his complex personality and motivations. As the protagonist of the play, Troy’s journey from a sharecropper’s son to a disillusioned father reflects the legacy of racism and injustice that shaped his life. His struggles with unfulfilled dreams, strained family relationships, and inner conflicts make him a challenging yet compelling character to embody on stage.

Troy’s experiences as a former baseball player denied entry into the Major Leagues due to his race inform his worldview and actions throughout the play. His resentment towards a society that denied him opportunities based on his skin color fuels his defiance and determination to fight for his rights. Despite his flaws and contradictions, Troy’s character embodies the resilience and spirit of resistance within the black community.

The layers of Troy’s personality, from his stoic exterior to his deep-seated vulnerabilities, require a nuanced portrayal that captures the complexity of his character. His struggles with fatherhood, marriage, and personal ambition reveal a man torn between his past traumas and present responsibilities. By delving into Troy’s psyche and motivations, actors can bring depth and authenticity to his portrayal, inviting audiences to empathize with his struggles and triumphs.

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In conclusion, Troy Maxson’s character in “Fences” is a testament to the enduring legacy of racism and injustice in American society. By embodying the complexities of his personality and experiences, actors can shed light on the universal themes of family, resilience, and the quest for dignity and equality. Through Troy’s story, audiences are invited to reflect on the challenges and triumphs of individuals who navigate a world marked by injustice and struggle.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Timeless Themes of Fences. (2024, February 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
“The Timeless Themes of Fences.” GradesFixer, 12 Feb. 2024,
The Timeless Themes of Fences. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
The Timeless Themes of Fences [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Feb 12 [cited 2024 Feb 25]. Available from:
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