Fences | Teen Ink


September 14, 2023
By EmmaCiliberti1 BRONZE, Valhalla, New York
EmmaCiliberti1 BRONZE, Valhalla, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The play, "Fences", written by August Wilson, explores the racism in America during the 1950s as well as the family dynamic between father Troy and his son Cory. The story is incredible and was luckily shown on Broadway in 1987 and underwent a revival in 2010. 

Troy is very hard on Cory because he believes that his teenage son must step up and prove that he will one day be capable of sustaining a family. Troy is not nearly as hard on his older son Lyons who he had during a previous marriage. Yet, he still encourages Lyons to get a “real job" instead of becoming a musician. Troy is merely being protective of his son out of his love for him. Cory is a very good football player and even receives a college scholarship for the sport. However Troy discourages Cory from taking it because he fears he will also face racism in his passion. 

The play tugs on your heartstrings as Cory cheats on his wife, Rose leaving his mistress, Alberta, pregnant. "Fences" only gets sadder when Alberta dies in childbirth while Rose continues to raise the child from the love affair, Raynell as her own. 

All in all, "Fences" will not disappoint as the reader follows Troy's struggle between his desire to play baseball and be a strong man. All the while, having all the odds against him as a black man in the United States. It is hard to not feel bad for Troy as his brother Gabriel is mentally handicapped due to injury caused by World War II. In addition, Troy's dreams of ever being able to play in the MLB were crushed because, at this time, black players had not yet broken into this space. In addition, his skin color is something he is unable to change which leads to his own self-resentment. Finally, Troy faces discrimination at his workplace where he earns a low-paying salary as a garbage man. 

The play keeps you on your toes as the last act occurs after a seven-year time jump during a main character's funeral. Family issues arise as one character threatens to not attend the services. Nevertheless, the character is offered lots of forgiveness after their passing even if it was not fully deserved. 

The author's comments:

My name is Emma Ciliberti. I first read Fences as an assignment during my tenth-grade English course. This play changed my perspective on family dynamics and opened my eyes to the oppression many faced during the fifties. I hope you enjoy my review and check out the story Fences!

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