Fences by August Wilson: Is August Wilson's Life and Beliefs Reflected in the Characters in Fences?
Rather than creating a whole new world and characters for his third play, August Wilson infused his own personal childhood to form a story that could be related to by viewers and readers alike. Whether a Wilson consciously replicated elements of his history or not, the success of Fences, is due to the audience 's ability to relate to the characters and the circumstances of their lives. August Wilson was born on April 27, 1945 in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
"Fences" takes place in the front yard of Troy's "ancient two-story brick house." The house is a source of both pride and shame for Troy. He is proud to provide a home for his family. He is also ashamed because he realizes that the only way he could afford the house is through his brother (a mentally unstable WWII veteran) and the disability checks he receives because of it. According to the playwright's description, "the wooden porch is badly in need of paint." Why does it need paint? Well, in practical terms, the porch is a recent addition to the house. Therefore, it could simply be seen as a task not quite finished. However, the porch is not the only thing in dire need of attention. Troy's wife of eighteen years, Rose, has also been neglected. Troy has spent time and energy on both his wife and the porch. However, Troy ultimately does not commit to his marriage nor to the unpainted, unfinished porch, leaving each to the mercy of the elements.
Her disappointment in attaining her dream to have a successful marriage and her intention to dedicate her life greatly on her parenthood’s side, looks like the life of some African American mothers. His mother, who was unsuccessful in trying to have the best family during her initial marriage, along with her achievement in improving her children’s status, are his devices to direct his reader to understand effectively about the past of African American females. From the analysis of Fences, it can be deduced that the author is conscious of the status of African-American who are near him and he made his play derived from such facts (Bogumi 34), therefore Wilson employed the characters like Rose to pass a point to the African American women to consider their ambitions and even, to add more efforts to attain their goals, even though their goals are still nearly linked to the concepts satisfying their responsibilities as the core provider of the family.
Although Bono admired Troy’s sense of responsibility and leadership Bono quickly began to change his feelings and became concerned with Troy’s marriage. Bono and Troy bump heads on the issue of infidelity and I think Bono’s morals and thoughts about loyalty put a wedge between his friendship with Troy. Towards the end of the book Bono stopped coming around and became distant towards Troy. What Bono admired about Troy came to be the reason he became distant. I would consider Bono to be functional kin to Troy which is defined as ‘non-biological related family members who have been designated as kin”.
Bogumi, Maryl. Understanding August Wilson. Columbia, SC: Univ of South Carolina Press, 1999. Print.
Steffens, Johannes. Recognizing ‘Fences’ – Troy Maxson’s Identity Politics. New York: GRIN Verlag, 2007. print.
Wilson, August. Fences Drama: A Pocket Anthology. 3rd Ed. New York: Penguin Academics, 2006. Print.