The Role Responsibility Plays in Fences

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Kelsey Sewalson Professor Hoppe English 2342 November 28, 2012 The Role Responsibility plays in “Fences” August Wilson’s play, “Fences”, is about a middle aged black man named Troy who works for a garbage company. Growing up with an abusive father and constantly feeling outranked by the white man, he underestimates his potential and sets his goals accordingly. While constantly battling racism, Troy cripples his son’s dreams of playing baseball due to his own expectations of what he feels his son could potentially achieve as a black man. Troy fails to recognize his good fortune in that he has a wife who treats him well and soon finds himself tangled in an affair. Not only is he unfaithful to his wife Rose, but he also appears to have no conscious for his infidelity and his lack of nurturing towards his family. Throughout the play, Wilson illustrates the theme of responsibility by displaying Troy’s recognition of responsibility, his lack of responsibility, and how Troy’s lack of responsibility affects his family and friends. While Troy’s upbringing did not provide a lot of stability or guidance he undergoes many hardships in order to recognize the meaning of responsibility. Growing up without a mother, Troy is raised by his father who mistreated and abused him. When Troy is fourteen he has a brutal encounter with his father, leaving him no choice but to become a man and learn to be responsible and survive on his own; “…When I see what the matter of it was, I lost all fear of my daddy. Right then and there I become a man… at fourteen years of age” (Wilson 2012). After being viciously abused and watching his father rape the girl he had just been involved with, Troy’s fear of his father grows immensely. It is at this point in Troy’s life where he becomes homeless and broke leading him to steal in order to survive. After serving time in prison it is then that

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