In Scene 3 of Act One of Fences, what does Rose point about Troy?

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

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Rose points out some of Troy's own emotional and psychological complexities in this scene.  When trying to diffuse the confrontation between father and son, Rose achieves a level of insight that is either too profound for Troy or simply something he refuses to acknowledge: 

Rose tries to soften Troy by reminding him that he missed his chance to be a professional athlete because he was too old, but Troy is unwilling to admit that she is right.

In this, Rose points out that Troy is layered with psychological complexity and depth that plays a role in the formation of his relationships with others in his immediate circle and in the society that he inhabits.  Rose's assertion about Troy's own failures are reminders to both he and the audience/ reader that Troy struggles with being a survivor and a victim of the social setting into which he is a part.  At the same time, what Rose points out about Troy is that he has to navigate the balance between acknowledging the wrong done to him, but also not becoming victimized by it.  It is in this assertion and in Troy's rejection of her insight that Troy's condition is brought out into a fuller light.  From this point, it is understood that Troy's battle is to overcome the social "fences" that are around him and ensure that he does not become victim to the emotional "fences" caused by these social conditions which preclude emotional attachment to others such as his wife or his children.

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