August Wilson’s most famous work, Fences, explores the life and relationships of the Maxson family. Perhaps the play has earned its popularity because it talks about basic things that are not the privilege of a particular class or race. One of the themes raised in the work is the achievement of the American dream of the main character Troy, which was impossible due to the prevailing inequality in American society in the fifties.
The main character, Troy Maxson, is a troublesome garbage collector and former baseball player. Although deeply flawed, Maxson represents the struggle for justice and fair treatment in the 1950s. There is no explicit racist rhetoric in the play, but the theme of inequality between the white and black population is present. The hero is the first African-American, who becomes a garbage truck driver, which deprives him of the respect and communication of friends (Wilson 102). The dissatisfaction with his surrounding shows how difficult it was for people of black society to achieve such a minor job, and it seemed impossible for individuals.
Troy Maxson was also a great baseball player in his youth. Although he played brilliantly for the “Negro leagues,” he was not allowed to play on the “white” teams (Wilson 23). The success of “white players” and the alienation of other black players show the degree of prejudice prevailing in American society in the fifties. Troy’s words, “I am talking about if you could play ball then they ought to have let you play. Don’t care what color you were,” show his bewilderment at racial discrimination in things like playing baseball (Wilson 21). Since Maxson was “born at the wrong time,” he never earned the recognition or money he thought he deserved, and discussion of professional sports often irritated him.
As a representative of the African-American community, August Wilson is well aware of the challenges faced by black people. The author tells about Troy Maxson’s life, a middle-aged African-American father from the working class who tries his best to provide everything necessary for his family. Despite all the difficulties that Troy faced trough his life, he represents the struggle for justice and fair treatment in the fifties.
Wilson, August. Fences. Penguin Publishing Group, 2019.