Character Analysis: Fences By August Wilson

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Conscious decisions are those actions individuals are aware of, but some decisions we are not aware of yet they still affect our behavior and emotions. In the play Fences by August Wilson, the main protagonist, Troy Maxson, struggles in his relationships with his loved ones, especially the relationship he has with his son, which is put into serious jeopardy when Troy decides that Cory cannot participate in sports. Troy’s action of pulling Cory out of football can be best explained by his conscious reasons that the white man will strip Cory of his opportunities, to protect Cory from being emotionally hurt, and his unconscious reasons of not wanting Cory to surpass him, and his inability to accept and understand the change around him. Troy…show more content…
When Troy hesitates to allow the football recruiter to come by, Rose declares that Cory is able to make something out of himself because “times have changed from when you was young, Troy. People change. The world’s changing around you and you can’t even see it” (40). Troy believes that his son won’t make it in football because he unconsciously reminds himself of the injustices of the world he grew up in. Troy’s inability to accept change and even his inability to see the change the world is undergoing directly hurts his relationship with not only Cory, but also indirectly impairs his ability to understand his own wife. After Cory learns that Troy will not allow him to play football, he accuses his dad that the reason he won’t let him play football is, “cause you didn’t have a chance! You just scared I’m gonna be better than you, that’s all” (58). Although Troy does not flat out say he is afraid of Cory surpassing him, in all the cases where Troy explains his reasons in not letting Cory play football, he always underlines his resentment towards sports because of the injustice sports had given him in his own life. This clearly expresses that because of his own experience with injustice, Troy is involuntarily jealous of the opportunity Cory is receiving through his scholarship which results in his action of not allowing Cory to participate in sports. The tension between Troy and Cory gradually increases throughout the play and finally culminates with perhaps their most intense argument where Cory tells Troy that he, “ain’t never gave me nothing! You ain’t never done nothing but hold me back. Afraid I was gonna be better than you. All you ever did was try and make me scared of you” (86). By studying the relationship between Troy and Cory, an amount of irony is revealed:
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