Discuss the interactions between Troy and Jim at the start of the Second Act in Wilson's Fences.

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

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It is at this point in the play where Bono addresses Troy's wayward pattern in his marriage and his life.  Bono wants to see his friend get back to the straight and narrow, the life that Jim himself leads.  Jim is concerned that Troy is emulating the pattern of the men's fathers, the concept of the "walking blues."  Troy alludes to this in the play as the condition where Black men were challenged by so many forces on social and emotional levels that they could not muster up the strength to find happiness anywhere.  In response to this state of being, they simply "walked."

Bono has constructed a life with his own wife, Lucille, that is different from such a condition.  It is his point tht Troy can change his ways by giving up his relationship with Alberta and refocusing his energies on Rose.  This is the advice that he gives to Troy.  It is significant because it is also the last time they actually are able to interact in a meaningful manner again in the play.  It is almost as if Bono recognizes that Troy is at a point where if he cannot change his ways, Jim understands that such a pattern will be detrimental to his own way of life.  It seems as if this last moment of advice and counsel is understood by Troy, for if Troy cannot save himself, he will not bring Bono down with him.

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