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Racism Exposed in Fences, by August Wilson Essay

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August Wilson’s play Fences brings an introspective view of the world and of Troy Maxson’s family and friends. The title Fences displays many revelations on what the meaning and significance of the impending building of the fence in the Maxson yard represents. Wilson shows how the family and friends of Troy survive in a day to day scenario through good times and bad. Wilson utilizes his main characters as the interpreters of Fences, both literally and figuratively. Racism, confinement, and protection show what Wilson was conveying when he chose the title Fences.
Lewis states that Wilson was an African American playwright, whose past of racism when he was growing up caused him to drop out of high school after a racist accusation that he had plagiarized a paper (Lewis). When Wilson wrote the play Fences he centered his main characters on this racism that he grew up with. Troy, a man who deals with his issues of failure in baseball and pride from doing right by his family, says “Why? Why you got the white mens driving and the colored lifting?...what’s the matter, don’t I count?”(Wilson 1575). This display of racism and the significance of the title fences go together hand in hand because the building of the fence in the Maxson yard is a way to show that African Americans wanted to protect their families. Rose, troy’s wife, wanted to have the fence built to protect her family against the outside world of a predominately white society.
The fences also represent the barrier between African Americans and the rest of the society. Alchura says that the way Wilson uses the setting dominates the fact of racism in this play (Alchura 1). Wilson uses the following quote as a way to show how racism affected African Americans.
They ...


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...om. Yahoo, June-July 2009. Web. 17 July 2014vvvv. .

Lewis, Miles M. "Interview with August Wilson." The Believer. The Believer, Nov. 2004. Web. 20 July 2014. .

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNotes: Fences: Character List.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. n.d.. Web. 17 Jul. 2014.


Wilson, August. “Fences.” Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Compact 7th ed. Eds. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Wadsworth CENGAGE, 2010. 1572-1625. Print.

Zirin, David. "Tribute to August Wilson: Breaking Down Fences." Home | Common Dreams. CommonDreams.org, 14 Oct. 2005. Web. 17 July 2014. .


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