“Fences” by August Wilson: Analysis


The intriguing play Fences by August Wilson centers on Maxson, the protagonist. Troy abuses his family and other individuals who are close to him. Wilson’s principal reason for writing the play is to depict how African Americans battled to exist in the United States, a significant theme of the tale. This essay focuses on the themes centered on the tale that will help meet August’s desire to showcase the struggles of a black man in a community dominated by whites.

Themes in Fences by August Wilson

The American Dream

The African-American family that was raised in the post-World War period and eventually achieved the American promise of life, freedom, and the pursuit of fulfillment is embodied by Troy Maxson. Troy has accomplished more success than his dad, who stayed a meager sharecropper, never acquired his farm or assets, and instead gave his entire life’s earnings to an oppressive proprietor. Troy has purchased his own home, though he felt uneasy about the ways of payment (Bailey, 2017). Additionally, he has demonstrated via his sex relations that a guy is free to pursue his heart and pursue happiness. Troy Maxson accepts his ambition to live a remarkable life and continues to be inhibited by his ideas about what a man may do in society in this manner.

The Ideal for Responsibility

Maxson is a gentleman who takes his duty to provide for his household seriously. His worst flaw is that he takes himself so seriously. Troy is torn between his great feeling of commitment to his spouse, kids, and brother and his longing for independence, which was manifested in his relationship with Alberta and the siring of an illegitimate baby. Because of his dad’s resentful concern for him and his children, Troy has a strong sense of duty (Egan, 2018). His father’s betrayal taints his connection with Corey, while his father’s dedication to his relatives can be considered evil. He leaves Rose for yet another woman while stubbornly refusing to accept responsibility for his actions. Troy is an example of how being responsible can turn into both a problem and a virtue.

Symbolism in Fences by August Wilson

Fences by August Wilson makes multiple references to a “fence” throughout the play. Security, the bond between Rose and Troy, and Troy’s struggle against death are some of the most significant events for which fences are symbolic. Individuals build “fences” throughout the piece, literally and metaphorically, to either be guarded or to guard. Examples include Troy defending himself from Death and Rose defending herself from Troy. This drama emphasizes the fence as a symbol, which aids readers in comprehending these occurrences. The fence endeavor, a literal and metaphorical symbol, represents the relationships that form and fall apart in the courtyard. It is crucial to how the lives of the people described are changing around it.


In essence, everybody should labor to fulfill their obligations as human beings. The various characters in the drama Fences all have obligations at work. They must deal with the burdens of labor and what it implies to be a working person. The drama Fences depicts the inequality that African Americans endured in the 1950s and 1960s, long after slavery ended and before the Civil Rights Era. The American Dream is not a particular occupation or way of life but rather the feeling of security and accomplishment that people long for. The fence’s meaning is connected to the numerous psychological and intellectual perspectives on life that the play’s protagonists hold. Wilson discusses the fundamental challenges that black individuals across the country are dealing with by depicting the different barriers that serve to contain and segregate.


Bailey. (2017). “Remember he is not in his own country and amongst his own folks”: The Exodus of Huckleberry Finn. The Mark Twain Annual, 15, 162. Web.

Egan, J. (2018). “As his own rhetorick shall persuade him:” Refutation and aesthetic self-construction in Milton’s Antiprelatical Tracts. Prose Studies, 24(2), 41-64. Web.

Make a reference

Pick a citation style


PapersGeeks. (2023, October 14). "Fences" by August Wilson: Analysis. https://papersgeeks.com/fences-by-august-wilson-analysis/

Work Cited

""Fences" by August Wilson: Analysis." PapersGeeks, 14 Oct. 2023, papersgeeks.com/fences-by-august-wilson-analysis/.

1. PapersGeeks. ""Fences" by August Wilson: Analysis." October 14, 2023. https://papersgeeks.com/fences-by-august-wilson-analysis/.


PapersGeeks. ""Fences" by August Wilson: Analysis." October 14, 2023. https://papersgeeks.com/fences-by-august-wilson-analysis/.


PapersGeeks. 2023. ""Fences" by August Wilson: Analysis." October 14, 2023. https://papersgeeks.com/fences-by-august-wilson-analysis/.


PapersGeeks. (2023) '"Fences" by August Wilson: Analysis'. 14 October.

Click to copy

This paper on “Fences” by August Wilson: Analysis was created by a student just like you. You are allowed to use this work for academic purposes. If you wish to use a snippet from the sample in your paper, a proper citation is required.

Takedown Request

If you created this work and want to delete it from the PapersGeeks database, send a removal request.