The aim of this paper is to present you with the way in which Troy and his wife Rose build fences in their interpersonal relationship. Troy and Rose are the hero and heroine retrospectively of the novel ‘Fences’ which was written by August Wilson in 1983 and represents the life of the black community in the 60’s. The main thematic core of the novel is the way in which Troy, who is the main hero, leads his way to come in terms with his personal failures and reflections drawn upon the way he lived his life. The novel follows the typical characteristics of Wilson’s writing. There is a main hero, Troy, who is the leading dramatic figure of the novel. All the other characters of the story, Troy’s wife, Troy’s best friend and Troy’s son revolve around Troy. Whatever they decide to do, whatever they feel seems to be in constant interpersonal interaction with Troy’s feelings and actions. Attention ought to be paid to the fact that the novel describes a historical period which has been of great significance in terms of the black community trying to find their national and racial identity. The socio historical context of this story within which the events are taking place, is the period between the Vietnam and Korean War. There seems to be a situation of an endless waiting for all black people in the United States. The difference between the South and the North is still significant and black people who had not managed to escape to the North and go after a better future, seem condemned to end their lives feeling totally deprived of their right to go after their dreams. This is the story of Troy who has quit his dreams and has compromised with a less satisfying life. But Troy’s son seems to have an opportunity to go after his dream. This is the core of the story which watches step by step the struggle for survival on behalf of all characters presented and developed in it.
The novel is titled ‘Fences’ and the title signifies a double concept. There is the literal meaning of the title which signifies the fence that Rose has asked Troy to build around their house. But it is the metaphorical meaning of the Fence which carries the meaningful burden and the underlying central idea of this novel. Troy has postponed the building of the fence. The novel ends and Troy is dead. This is the final scene of the novel in which the fence is presented to have been finally built. This is the way in which the fence turns into a literary tool in the hands of August Wilson. Wilson uses the literary device of the Fence in order to highlight the main concepts regarding the life of the black community and the life of a married, unhappy couple. The fence symbolizes the elements which Rose seems to want desperately. Rose needs stability, safety and a positive feeling. It is obvious that she has started suspecting that something is going wrong in her relationship with her husband. She seems to have started feeling that something is not working properly in her relationship with her husband. The fence is the symbol of love and safety. The fence is like a safety net. The backyard of Rose’s house will be protected and will blossom since it will be nurtured by the protection of the Fence. This is why Rose seems to insist so much on the fence to be built.
On the other hand, Troy seems to neglect the need of a fence. He seems to have been persuaded that nothing is worth fighting for since his fate has been already decided. Since he has lost his chance to go after his dreams, he is revealed throughout the plot of the story to have found false love and nurturing in an affair. He has found a kind of shelter in this affair and he seems to be totally incapable of looking at the situation and the relationships developed and existing within his family. Troy has been presented throughout the story to be postponing the building of the fence like he postpones the real discussion with his wife. Since Troy has failed his personal expectations to be faithful and be strongly bonded with his family, there seems to be no reason for him to spend his time to build any kind of fence.
But the fence has been built when Troy dies. This is the ultimate moment of the symbolic meaning of the fence. Since Troy’s death unites his family once more, the fence is built in a metaphorical meaning. There is a protection now around Troy’s family and there is probably some light at the end of the tunnel, since Troy’s son is determined to go after his dreams.
Wilson, August. Fences: A Play (First edition ed.).New York: Plume. 1986