How does Alberta influence the other characters in Fences?

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akannan's profile pic

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

Posted on

I think that Alberta wields influence over Troy and Rose, and is more representative of what Bono would call “the walking blues” to the other characters.  She is the other woman for Troy, and represents, to a great extent, his own discontent with his marriage and familial commitments.  Troy’s relationship with her is more of an escape from his own condition.  Rose is impacted by Alberta in her being “the other woman, “ a force that changes one’s condition in life as a wife.  At the same time, Rose takes care of Alberta’s child who is orphaned after her death in child birth.  In this, Rose is impacted by Alberta even after her death.  I think that the other characters experience a tangential effect of Alberta.  Alberta does not seek to impact any of them, and, to a great extent, she probably never intended to impact Rose in the manner she did.  Bono views Alberta as representative of Troy’s inability to make his life better and the very embodiment of the “walking blues.”  I think that Cory views Alberta as the physical representation of his father’s inability to make good on his commitments and promises, something that Cory himself wishes to avoid as a result of his interaction with his father.

kmfrantz's profile pic

kmfrantz | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

For a character that never actually appears in the play Alberta impacts almost every character of the play. I think that Alberta represents Troy's need to "escape" his responsiblites and his need to just "laugh". It is very telling that once Alberta dies all of Troy's other relationships begin to crumble, partly because of his new daughter Raynell and what she represents, but also partly because Troy must now face a stark reality. About the time that Alberta dies the reader can see Bono disappear, Rose disconnect, and Cory altogether abandon his family ties. This too is when the fence is actually built, Troy's feeble attempt to keep his family in tact. Alberta inadvertantly touched all of these circumstances.

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