November 13, 2005

Fences

Moving away from traditional play reviews, this time I chose to examine some memorable quotes from the work....

"You got to take the crookeds with the straights."

"Life don't owe you nothing."

"Death ain't nothing but a fastball on the outside corner."

For a man who believes that life doesn't owe anyone anything, Troy certainly acts as though life needs to repay him for his let downs. Troy never got to play in the pro-league baseball because he was too aged, so in turn, Troy takes away Cory's chance to continue his career in football. Troy constantly references baseball, probably because he was denied the opportunity to play it. The reader also sees his struggle with his multiple children to different women: Alberta and his love child Raylene, Cory to his wife, and the other son who comes around looking for money on payday. Part of his plight comes from his children, but most of it derives from himself. He has an affair, he drinks, he argues with the boss (however, he wins this case and gets to drive the garbage truck), he argues with Rose and becomes a "womanless man," and he sings the blues. Singing the blues can't solve anything, but it relates to the oral tradition offered in slave literature. Also, trains act as symbols in the play: to move away from sorrow, to carry people to safety - trains are common in African American spirituals. Troy suffers from problems from race relations, as he is displaced from his home in the south to northern Pittsburgh, and he has to fight to just drive a garbage truck rather than loading garbage. But race relations are not the main problem in this play; the problem, therein, lies in coming to terms with the self. Actions lead to consequences - it is almost as though this is a coming of age story, for an older man. And it results in death. Is this a cautionary tale?

Posted by KatieAikins at November 13, 2005 11:08 AM
Comments

I think "cautionary" is an appropraite category for this play. Just like in life, an individual's actions don't just effect their own life, but the lives of everyone around them.

Posted by: Katie Lambert at November 13, 2005 11:59 AM

Of course, race relations isn't the main theme of the play. It is more of a catalyst to the problems that break out in the family. Troy, stopped Cory from going to play college football because of his experiences of his baseball career cut short by racism.

Posted by: Kevin Hinton at November 13, 2005 7:33 PM

I think the coming of age part is more for Cory and Lyons. They went through the same cycle with their father as Troy did with his. It's as if Cory had to get in a fight and get thrown out in order to become an adult.

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at November 13, 2005 11:04 PM