Drama; Fences by August Wilson and past questions; This play is necessary for students who are sitting for the following examinations and should be studied so as to stand a chance of passing the exams. JAMB, WAEC, NECO, GCE.
PLOT SUMMARY (Drama; Fences by August Wilson and past questions)
On Friday, the day of Troy and Bono’s paycheck, the play begins. Each week, Troy and Bono gather at Troy’s home to speak and drink. Troy has questioned their employer, Mr. Rand, as to why the black staff members are only permitted to load and unload rubbish from trucks.
Bono believes Troy has an affair with his wife, Rose. Cory, the son of Troy and Rose, has received interest from a collegiate football team. Troy played in the Negro Leagues, but he was too old to participate when the Major Leagues started permitting black players, therefore he was never able to play in the Major Leagues. Troy launches into a protracted epic tale about his battle with death in July 1943. Lyons arrives at the house because he is aware that Troy will be paid today. Troy is reminded by Rose to complete the fence she has requested him to build.
Troy and Cory are repairing the fence. Troy is informed by Cory that he has resigned from his position at the A&P grocery shop during the football season. Because a coach from North Carolina is traveling all the way to Pittsburgh to watch Cory play, Cory begs Troy to allow him to participate. Troy rejects and demands that Cory returns to his position.
Troy is given the job of the city’s first black garbage truck driver after winning his lawsuit. Bono and Troy can recall their fathers and their early memories of leaving their southern homes and going to the north. When Cory learns that Troy warned the football coach that Cory might not play for the team, he is furious and returns home. Troy issues a “strike one” warning to Cory for his disobedience.
Troy pays for Gabriel’s release from prison. At the fence, Bono and Troy are busy. Rose wants the fence because she loves and wants to keep her family close, according to Bono, who also explains this to Troy and Cory. In a conversation with Bono, Troy confesses his relationship with Alberta.
The refrigerator that Bono has long pledged to buy for his wife Lucille will be purchased if Troy finishes constructing the fence for Rose, according to a wager made by Bono to Troy. Troy informs Rose that Gabriel’s recommitment to an asylum would be discussed before a court in three weeks.
Troy reveals to Rose his relationship. Troy is accused by Rose of only taking. Rose’s arm is seized by Troy. Troy is seized by Cory behind. Troy prevails in their fight. On Cory, Troy declares “strike two.”
Troy announces that he would visit Alberta, who gave birth, at the hospital six months later. Troy learns from Rose that Gabriel has been taken to the asylum since Troy signed him away without being able to read the paperwork.
Alberta gave birth to a girl but passed away in childbirth. After constructing a barrier, Troy issues challenge Death to come and grab him. Troy welcomes Raynell, his daughter, home. Although Rose adopts Raynell as her own child, she disobeys her obligations as Troy’s wife.
THEMES (Drama; Fences by August Wilson and past questions)
DUTY, BETRAYAL, AND FAMILY
Fences is a picture of family life, including how the characters describe their devotion to or obligation to the family and how each views their distinct duties within the family. It also looks at how betrayal can sever ties between family members. Troy declines to tell Cory he loves him, telling him instead that he just acts out of obligation to him as a son and that there is no reason why love must necessarily be involved.
PROTECTION VS. FREEDOM
In Wilson’s piece, the fence represents competing desires. In a way, Troy and Rose are trying to construct a fence around their life. Rose’s desire for a fence represents her wish to defend her family. She aims to keep the family away from the perilous environment.
Troy wants to protect his family, but the fence also represents his own dissatisfaction with his own life. Troy tells Rose during their argument that he has spent his entire life supporting the family. He has served as the defender and guardian of a tranquil, regular life.
Troy Maxson is somebody that takes care of his family seriously. His biggest flaw also ends up being his seriousness. In between his relationship with Alberta and his fathering of an illegitimate kid, Troy is torn between his own need for freedom and both of these actions. For his wife, kids, and brother, he has a deep sense of loyalty.
The bitter love that Troy’s own father had for him and his siblings served as the foundation of his feeling of accountability. His own relationship with Cory is damaged as a result of his father’s infidelity. In addition to leaving his children and brother behind, he leaves Rose behind for another lady. Troy serves as a good example of how being responsible can also be a burden.
THE AMERICAN DREAM
The post-World War II African-American generation that is finally able to attain the American ideal of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is embodied by Troy Maxson. Troy has achieved greater success than his father, who continued to live in poverty as a sharecropper, never owned his own land, and instead gave his life and his wages to an unjust landowner.
But this quest for the American Dream is not without struggle. Troy finds it difficult to imagine future generations surpassing his achievements. He is unable to picture his son realizing an even loftier goal.
CHARACTERS (Drama; Fences by August Wilson and past questions)
The fifty-three-year-old African American man who plays the main character in Fences lifts trash onto trucks for the city’s sanitation department. Troy used to play baseball and was a star in the Negro Leagues. Troy’s athletic skills declined before Black players were allowed in the Major Leagues. Troy, the family breadwinner and the main character in his over thirty-year friendship with fellow sanitation worker Jim Bono, is a strong, hard-working individual who has a penchant for embellishing the truth and weaving interesting tales. Fences’ other interactions revolve around Troy’s persona as its focal point. Troy is Rose’s spouse, the father of Lyons, Cory, and Raynell, as well as Gabriel’s brother. Troy is a tragic hero who takes great delight in providing for his family. Troy is discouraged by his years of labor for such little gain. Troy frequently falls short of giving his loved ones the affection and assistance that they most need.
Troy and Rose Maxson’s adolescent son. Cory is a senior in high school, and college recruiters are coming to watch him play football because of his solid grades. Cory is a kind and enthusiastic person in general. He is a polite son, a sympathetic nephew to his uncle Gabriel, who is crippled. Cory, a young man with ambition and the talent and drive to achieve his goals, matures during the play as he challenges Troy, confronts him and moves away from home. In the play’s last scene, Cory returns from the Marines and makes an effort to rebel against Troy by deciding not to attend his burial. However, Cory changes his mind after talking to Rose and Raynell about his father.
Cory’s mother, who is also Troy’s second child, is his wife. Rose, an African American housewife of 43 years, frequently gives her time to her church and adores her family. In order to keep her loved ones close to her love, Rose asks Troy and Cory to construct a fence in their little, dirty backyard. In contrast to Troy, Rose is a realist who doesn’t romanticize the past. She supports Cory’s desire to play football because she has great expectations for her son. Raynell, Troy’s illegitimate daughter, was accepted by Rose as her own kid, showing her compassion.
Troy’s brother. In the Second World War, Gabriel served as a soldier and had a head injury that necessitated the surgical implantation of a metal plate. Gabriel receives government checks as compensation for the physical harm and his service, which Troy partially used to purchase Maxson’s property, the setting for the play. Gabriel sings and carries a basket as he makes his way around the Maxson family’s neighborhood. He frequently mistakenly believes that he is the angel Gabriel, who on the Day of Judgment blows his trumpet to open the heavens for Saint Peter. Gabriel exudes a childlike energy and a desire to please.
Troy’s longtime closest friend. The characters in Fences frequently refer to Jim Bono as “Bono” or “Mr. Bono.” Troy, who was learning to play baseball in prison, met Bono there. Bono looks up to Troy as an example. The only character in Fences who has firsthand knowledge of Troy’s heyday of home runs in the Negro Leagues is Bono. Bono respects Troy’s leadership and accountability at work even if Troy is less contentious. Every Friday after work, Bono relaxes in the Maxson family’s backyard with Troy while they sip beers and share stories. Lucille, a friend of Rose’s, is the spouse he has married. The loving spouse and friend that is Bono. Bono prioritizes Troy’s marriage over his commitment to their relationship.
Troy’s child was fathered before his time in prison by a woman he met before turning into a baseball player and meeting Rose. Jazz musician Lyons is a driven and gifted individual. Troy was in prison for a large portion of his childhood, thus he spent most of it alone. Like most musicians, Lyons struggles to support himself. Lyons relies heavily on Bonnie, his lover who we never see on stage, for his money. Lyons doesn’t live with Troy, Rose, or Cory, but he frequently stops by the Maxson home on Troy’s payday to borrow money. Lyons participates in the same municipal lottery as Rose. Rose and Lyons’ participation in the dice game symbolizes their willingness to gamble in hopes of a better future. Troy views Lyons’ jazz playing as an eccentric and dumb pastime. Troy refers to jazz as “Chinese music” because he considers it to be exotic and unusable. Others respect Lyons for his humanity and sense of self.
It was Alberta, his lover, who gave birth to Raynell Maxson Troy’s illegitimate child. Raynell, who is a baby in the play, is introduced by August Wilson. Rose is persuaded to bring Troy back inside by her naive need for protection and assistance. Later, Raynell scatters seeds around the yard’s formerly bare earth. Raynell is a symbol of new hope for the future and the good ideals that parents and elder generations instill in their children because she is the only Maxson child to survive Troy with minor physical or emotional wounds.
Raynell’s mother and Troy’s hot Tallahassee lover. Alberta dies during childbirth. She represents Troy’s exotic dream of escaping his real-life difficulties and living in an illusion with no time.
Questions (Drama; Fences by August Wilson and past questions)
1. Discuss the themes in the play.
2. Discuss the characters in ‘Fences’.
3. What type of play is ‘Fences’
4. What are the literary devices in the play.
5. In what decade did ‘Fences’ begin?