In Fences,what is responsibility doing to Troy?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In many ways, the concept of responsibility is eating away at Troy.  The fact that Troy feels "weighted down" by so much in his life prevents a full embrace of those elements in his life.  He perceives these elements as something of a burden, a way in which his life actually is robbed of life in terms of his own being in the world.  Troy's constant need to be responsible has made his life where there is only "work" and nothing in way of love.  Unlike Bono, who seems to have found some level of love and happiness in what he discovers with his wife, Troy has little, if any, love for the responsibilities in his life.  Such a condition has created "fences" in his own world, and these have helped to cause his own sense of frustration and resentment in his life.  These fences, the ones caused by the burden of responsibility, are ones that end up eating away at Troy, actually perpetuating his sense of death and the fear that death is inevitable.  In this light, responsibility is a force that takes away from Troy's happiness and something that is shown to make life more miserable if one cannot appropriate it in the most positive of lights.


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