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Baseball is one significant image in August Wilson's Fence. This sport indeed revolves around the life of Troy Maxson and illustrates the mark of triumph in his life. Troy emerges as the hero in some scenes in the play, innings, which match with the seasons in Troy's life. Initially Troy is a success owing to his dignified tireless effort to provide for his family, his promotion to driver at work after his protests and his superb hitting for the Negro Leagues. However, Troy and his team are depicted as losers, as a result of his fallout with his two sons, taking his brother Gabriel to an institution, death of Alberta as well as the fallout with Rose and Bono. The family gathers at the end of the play to reminisce on the triumphs and failures in Troy's life.
Very little information is digressed about the baseball leagues in this play rather more emphasis is placed on characterization. The baseball plays are not employed to an end itself but to vividly highlight the strengths and weaknesses of Troy. Troy is said to have been a superb hitter with his home run average exceeding that of many white players despite Negro League not being reliable as a possible income for players. Troy is seen to be opportunistic since he uses funds from Gabriel's disability checks to buy a house. A clear reference to the Negro League; that it does not pay the players enough to support their families is made by Troy: "I bet you Selkirk's daughter ain't walking around with raggedy shoes on her feet." This is after Troy sees a white major league player's child walking with shoes in sharp contrast with Gibson's son, whose father plays in the Negro League, walking around with ragged shoes on her feet. This reference to color is a true pointer to the injustice and inequality in the baseball leagues (Shannon 114).
The play gives reference to the inheritance history through the metaphorical fences that show the rifts between the relationship of characters in the play, mainly between Tory and Cory. Troy and his father Cory have independent and proud traits. The play warns us to think twice about our background before becoming truly independent. Cory takes pride in his football skills while on the other hand Troy is proud of collecting garbage so as to cater for his family. At the onset of the play Troy wished to succeed in the baseball League but the situation hindered him since there was racial discrimination that locked him out despite the fact that he was better than most of the white players. Troy gives up his passion for baseball in order to raise his family after he meets Rose and they have a baby. Family life became challenging forcing to steal and rob after failing to secure a job. He accidentally kills a person and is sentenced to jail. On the other hand, Cory was lonely since his father was never by his side. This made Cory not wanting to interact with his family's history. Things changed while Troy served his jail time and it was now possible for African Americans to prosper to some certain point. Troy does not appreciate this fact since he is holds a belief that African American people can never prosper due to his earlier experience with the Negro League. Secondly he does not believe in the change since he did not experience it for it occurred while he was incarcerated (Shafer 129).
Troy lived at a time when racism was ripe making it impossible for his desire to be independent. He felt that he could have found his true identity if he was born during Cory's time. His bad parenting and overall behavior is due to his harsh and painful childhood when his father abused him and raped his girlfriend. Troy's life was influenced by the people of past who were affected by the cruelty of racism and when slavery was accepted. The Changing world was acceptable to Troy since he only preferred to inherit history. In contrast, Cory lives in the new world accepting change. He has high ambitions like the ones Troy had earlier on. Cory does not however live in the past; he wishes to forget the past and does not look into the mistakes and bad experiences in history. Cory hates his father with passion up to the end of the play when Raynell sings one of the songs taught to them by troy and remarks to Troy's statements that it was 'Cory's Room.' Troy and Cory failed to appreciate the inheritance of the past and the changes of the new world and were therefore not successful (Worthington & Somers 131).
The building of Fences is a style set up to make the reader to understand each character better. All the characters have a different metaphorical meaning of their fences. Troy's fence is evident by his worry in becoming independent. He does not want to leave his family and therefore gives up his life ambitions in order to cater for his family. His passion is forgotten but the family life begins to bear a heavy toll on him (Bogumil 40).
The fences emphasize the fact that he is locked up in a quagmire with his family the way slaves were kept within the barrier. Cory's fences illustrate the relationship with Troy which was severed. He was hindered from achieving prosperity due to Troy's poor parenting and stubbornness. Troy showed him the mistakes of the past but Cory could not make them out and accept the humanly faults in his father. Cory manages to get5 out of the fences by accepting change in the new world as well as moving away from his father's control that interfered with his life (Worthington & Somers 131).
Black men are allowed to take part in the major league ball when racial discrimination declines at the end of the play. However, Troy does not pride in this since he is very cross at his lost opportunity when he had high optimism of becoming a major league player. The opportunity is meaningless to him since it has come too late to be of any use to his life. He holds that ability rather than color should be used to determine who plays ball. This is due to the situation whereby a person of color has to be twice as good as a white guy in order to join the team. In addition, despite the integration of the leagues a black guy sits on the bench most often and is never used in the game like the white players. This is an outright injustice in the white sports establishment. Cory, whom Troy is tries to give the picture of the leagues has no experience corresponding to his dad's. He does not see any blocked opportunity like his father since he has been promised a position in college football since he played well in his high school football. Troy is seemingly denying his son a chance to succeed since he himself found it hard. This is in fact what leads to their fallout.
Troy likes his son Lyon unlike Cory since he views him as a failure and this ties them together in a similar bond. Lyon hopes to be a musician but fails each time just like troy did in the Negro League where he did not even reach the professional League. He is very certain that Lyon will ultimately contend to a menial job and succumb to defeat like he did. Lyon is actually defeated at the end of the play but his love for music still lingers strongly in his heart.
Troy feels trapped in his marriage; marriage life to him seems to tie him with a lot of responsibilities. He consequently begins an affair with another woman Alberta, behind his wife's back. He tries to rekindle what he lost in his youth in the affair. He believes that he is still attractive. Rose on the other hand has no way to escape the confines of married life which bears a lot of pressures and responsibility. Women are in a fence since they are to remain at home to carry out domestic chores.