Troy Maxson in The Fences by August Wilson
Troy Maxson in The Fences by August Wilson

Troy Maxson in The Fences by August Wilson

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  • Pages: 2 (992 words)
  • Published: November 25, 2021
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Fences is a fascinating play by August Wilson published in the 1960’s. It is about the Blacks experience in the United States in the 20th century. Wilson uses a character that suffers for the sake of other black people. The suffering character tries to provide other blacks with opportunities which they could not reap from due to the conditions that they are exposed to. They never benefited from their sacrifices and talents. In this particular play, Troy Maxson, the main character in the Fences, is a 50 years old black American who works with sanitation department. He is also a former baseball player in the Negro Leagues (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.). Troy takes care of his family composed of a wife Rose Maxson and his children Lyons, Cory, and Raynell.

Almost all the actions of the play and the relationships of the characters revolve around Troy’s character.
Troy is a responsible man who is a strong believer of his own misapprehensions. He is answered and accountable for his actions and finds it hard to agree to other peoples choices that do not agree with his philosophy of thinking (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.). Troy strongly disagrees with Lyons when he decided to become a musician. Cory, his teenage son had decided to play football in college instead of baseball. He could concur with his father’s idea since he wanted his son to get his job back. Rose used to play with the numbers. This led to a conflict with his husband.

Troy is hypocritical. He preaches water and drinks wine. He requires that member of h


is family have a responsible and practical life while he is irresponsible, have a secret affair behind his wife Rose with Alberta, and have an illegitimate son as a result. In an encounter with his employer, Troy resists the work conditions provided by his employer on the blacks. There was a condition that the black people would only be restricted being lifters. Other jobs in the sanitation department such as being the truck driver were preserved for other races.

Troy is unfaithful. He maintains a secret affair with Alberto from Tallahassee. Alberta dies when giving birth to Raynell Maxson. When this affair got exposed, Rose temporarily separates with Troy but later takes him back due to the urgent need to take care of the infant Raynell. Troy is even untruthful to his best friend, Bono, with whom he denies to have a relationship with Alberta (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.).

Troy is a rebel. The play brings about tray as a person who will always disagree and resist any forces or ideas from other people. He will not concur with any choice that does not agree with his way of thinking (Elam, 2009). His character is somewhat dangerous to himself and to all that are subject to him. This eventually leads to long choices that more often than not lead to conflict with other people. For example, when he could not stomach his employer’s racist regulation to have all Black employees take low positions of jobs in his work place, he couldn’t contain himself without rebelling.

Troy is desperate. Troy seems to be desperate in

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his doings in the play. He is desperate on how to take responsibility of his family. This character makes him bitter and often finds himself in augments with members of his family (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.). He engages in an argument with Rose over the laziness of Cory. In another instance he finds himself exchanging bitter words with Cory. This is when his son asked he have never been liked by him. Troy bitterly responds, “Liked you? Who the hell say I got to like you?” At this point, troy is confused and unsure or his role as a responsible parent and husband which to him is the key responsibility of a man.

Troy is a hardworking husband and father. He is the sole provider of his family (Elam, 2009). He works in a sanitation department as a lifter. He is denied a chance of becoming a truck driver because of his skin colour. This does not deter him from continuing working for them and providing for his family. He does not like nor does he tolerate laziness in his family. Troy lectures Lyons his eldest son for being lazy and poor. Lyons was unwilling to take up a job with either the sanitation department or any other company. In a conversation with Lyons, Troy describes himself as being different from him; “”You and me is two different people, Pop.” (pg.18). He condemns Lyons’ habit of spending his nights at Jazz Clubs performing.

Troy is portrayed as an authoritative man who is able to lead a patriarchal family. He is authoritative in that he gives lectures to his children and makes known the kind of life he would expect them to lead (Elam, 2009). Rose Maxson admits her submissive character and femininity strength toward the end of the play. She leads her life as a housewife and mother with Troy being the reason behind her miserable life.

In a nutshell, the general settings of this play represent a general African family that in the United States of America in the 20th century (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.)Wilson shows how the government of USA had failed the black people through the protagonist who with Bono lived in roughly built houses stealing and ended up in jail. He demonstrates how Troy’s character while living with his family at Pittsburgh was shaped by his experiences in his youth. In this play, Wilson demonstrates the timeline when African opportunities started to pop up as the 1950s. Those Africans that lived between 1900 and 1950 like Troy could not enjoy their full potential due to alienation.


  • Elam, H. J. (2009). The past as present in the drama of August Wilson. University of Michigan
  • SparkNotes Editors. (n.d.). SparkNote on Fences. Retrieved April 24, 2016, from
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