Discuss the quote below.   " When the sins of our fathers visit us we do not have to play host. We can banish them with forgiveness. As God, in His Largeness and Laws" - August Wilson. Discuss your thoughts of the quote with examples from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Fences by August Wilson.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think that the quote plays a significant role in both works.  In Fences, I think that Cory's reaction to his father at the funeral might be one specific instant where Wilson's quote is most evident.  "Not having to play host" to the anger and bitterness that his father is where Cory is when he joins Raynell in singing Troy's favorite songs.  The emotional "fences" that prevented Troy from appreciating consciousness were caused by sins that his father passed down to him.  These very same transgressions were offered to Cory, who seems to be at a point where the same poison will not effect him as it did his father.  Cory seems to embody the idea that individuals can actively change their own social and emotional climates to appropriate a vision of the world that is more psychologically healthy.  In Fitzgerald's work, I think that Gatsby is in a similar predicament.  Gatsby does not have to "host" the sins of the social setting where individuals are driven to use people as means to ends and one where phoniness and in-authenticity dominate.  Fitzgerald is able to draw a very strong portrait of Gatsby whereby Gatsby understands, to an extent, the sins of his social setting and seeks to not play host to it.  However, Gatsby has little choice but to "play host," as he places more value in his pursuit of Daisy.  Both writers seem to be indicating that individuals have to take active and defiant roles to "not host" the sins that surround individuals in both society and family.  The act of "banishing" these transgressions require a sacrifice and discipline that Troy lacks, but which Cory possesses, and a sensibility that exists in Gatsby, though he is unable to fully act upon it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial