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Fences As Metaphor In Lanford Wilson's "Fences"

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Autor:   •  November 6, 2010  •  418 Words (2 Pages)  •  488 Views

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As with most works of literature, the title Fences is more than just a title. It could be initially noted that there is only one physical fence being built by the characters onstage, but what are more important are the ideas that are being kept inside and outside of the fences that are being built by Troy and some of the other characters in Fences. The fence building becomes quite figurative, as Troy tries to fence in his own desires and infidelities. Through this act of trying to contain his desires and hypocrisies one might say, Troy finds himself fenced in, caught between his pragmatic and illusory ideals. On the one side of the fence, Troy creates illusions and embellishments on the truth, talking about how he wrestled with death, his encounters with the devil, later confronting the devil openly with a baseball bat. On the other side of the fence remain the realisms that Troy confronts others with when they expound upon their dreams or hopes. Where Cory has aspirations of playing football, Troy says that he must continue with his more practical job at the A&P.

As Bono says, "Some people build fences to keep people out...and other people build fences to keep people in." This is why Rose wants the fence to be built. When faced with Troy's infidelity she gets only a cursory, self-serving response from Troy. It's hard to decipher why exactly she stays with Troy, but a very simple, valid reason would be that she has no other place to go, and feels a strong responsibility to try and care for her children. Eventually her compassion leads her to make an unspoken ultimatum to Troy: I can either take in this bastard child, or I can take in you. Troy misses this ultimatum and sees the well-being of the child, Raynell, as the only option.

There are quite a few clichйs throughout fences. The aspiring musician who is always poor, the washed-up sports player, the crazy old man who is really actually a wise character, the loving wife,


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