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Mario Saldierna

Jurik
AP Lit

Research Paper on Fences

In August Wilsons play Fences, he sheds light on the aspect of racism, which was
still prevalent in his time, but looking at Wilsons past already one can tell that he had
experienced racism firsthand. While there are some sub-themes within this play, such as
the need to enforce ones masculinity, racism ultimately prevails as the most prevalent
theme.
The main character of this play, Troy Maxson, is considered to be the tragic
hero, such as Oedipus or Macbeth (Weber), due to the fact that while their character is
great they contain one fatal flaw. In Troys case his flaw is the need to show off his
masculinity to his family and that he is always right. For example, in the play Troy
refuses to send his son Cory to play professional football because he believes no black
man can make it professionally The white man aint gonna let you get nowhere with that
football noway (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 78). He also rejects the idea that times are
changing, and is hell-bent on the idea that his wife Rose is wrong in saying that things
have changed They got lots of colored boys playing ball now. Baseball and football,
(Act 1, Scene 1, Line 76). Due to this naivet or need to show he is the boss, he loses his
son from his life forever. Troy has this nave mindset due to the time period he was in and
the social discrimination he faced.

The aspect of racism or discrimination is an immense topic that, even to this day,
is still around. Although the play is set in the 1950s, where the joining of races is
occurring, Troy refuses to accept the change. This is primarily due to the fact that he was
denied access to be a professional baseball player just because he was black; from then
on he held constant belief that no black person will ever amount to anything simply
because they are black. It is also because of this that he becomes said tragic hero in the
play and somewhat loses hope in the society he lives in. These aspects of discrimination
are drawn from August Wilsons own experiences as a child growing up.
August Wilson was born from a German immigrant, by the name Kittel. His
mother, Daisy Wilson, was an African American woman. He kept his mothers maiden
name of Wilson, primarily due to the fact that his father was rarely present in his life.
Being an African American growing up in a white suburb he was faced with racial
discrimination extremely often. So often, in fact, he felt the need to transfer high schools.
Due to this grim past, one can infer that it is not the hardest to come up with the works he
is known for.
In conclusion, August Wilson successfully conveyed the themes that were
intended for this play. He conveyed his characters need to be the top dog, and the
constant struggle with discrimination. He did this so well, primarily due to the fact that he
was raised in a time where he faced that social injustice on a daily basis.

Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web.


28 May 2015.
OReilly, Mollie Wilson. Fertile ground: August Wilsons Fences. Commonweal
137.11 (2010): 20+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 14 May 2015.
Weber, Myles. Rescuing the Tragic Bully in August Wilsons Fences. The Southern
Review 50.4 (2014): 648+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 14 May 2015.