Exploring Theme in August Wilsons Fences - Essay Example

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For many people in America, the atrocities and injustice of slavery and Jim Crow era laws are considered confined to the southern portions of the country. Well after slavery was abolished, laws known as Jim Crow laws kept black people confined to a ‘separate but equal’…
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Exploring Theme in August Wilsons Fences
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Download file to see previous pages Many of these restrictions and attitudes might have gone unnoticed and unremembered except for the black playwrights and authors who revealed their effects on the community as a whole. In his play Fences, August Wilson uses the concept of a fence as both a theme and a symbol to reveal the hidden boundaries his characters encounter as they attempt to achieve a modest version of the American dream in the 1950s North.
The concept of invisible boundaries blocking one’s ability to reach the American Dream is the central theme of this play. The story begins on a random Friday afternoon. The play’s main character, Troy Manxson, is waiting for his latest paycheck from the city’s waste removal services department where he works somewhat unwillingly because his dreams of being a big baseball star were thwarted when he was younger by rules that prevented black men from playing in the major leagues. As the play progresses, it becomes clear that all the characters featured once had big dreams that were thwarted by the generalized lack of opportunity that applied to anyone with darker skin. In this opening scene, Troy immediately addresses the theme of the play when he tells Bono about the invisible ceilings that are constantly placed over his head, such as the boss’s reaction when Troy asked why only white men were allowed the position of garbage truck drivers. Troy’s frustration is clear as he obviously realizes that playing for a professional team would have afforded him and his family an entirely different kind of life, and he is even held down in this lowly position working on a garbage truck. His response to the idea that things are changing and he was just born too young, Troy says, “"There ought not never have been no time too early” (Wilson, Act 1, Scene 1). In spite of knowing his limitations were externally set, Troy feels he has failed ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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