August Wilson makes the case in his play Fences that “sons repeat the sins of their fathers.” Do you think Cory and Lyons will repeat Troy’s mistakes? What would it take to break that cycle?  

In Fences by August Wilson, Lyons Maxson is mostly following in his father Troy's footsteps, making similar mistakes and encountering similar difficulties. Cory Maxson, however, is following a different path by joining the military, and he seems to be making a different life for himself than that of Troy or Lyons.

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Troy Maxson in August Wilson's play Fences has had a difficult life, partly because of his own poor choices. His baseball career failed. He ended up in jail for criminal activity. His unfaithfulness leads to problems in his relationships. His stubbornness brings conflicts with his sons. Troy has made many mistakes, yet he continues to make excuses for himself.

Troy's son Lyons seems to be following in his father's footsteps in terms of poor choices. Lyons is a musician, and he is dedicated to his music. This is a good thing as far as it goes, but it usually doesn't put food on the table. Lyons refuses to get another job. He would rather pursue his music full time while his wife, Bonnie, works in the laundry at a hospital. These choices don't work out well for Lyons. He gets involved in illegal activities and ends up in jail. Bonnie leaves him. Yet he doesn't seem to learn much from his mistakes, for he says that when he gets out, he plans to go back to his music full time. Lyons is turning out very much like Troy in his poor choices and relationship problems. To break the cycle, he would have to reexamine and adjust his priorities.

Troy's younger son Cory, however, seems to be making different choices than his father and old brother. Cory really wants to play football, and he defies his father to do so. Later, though, Cory decides to join the military, and the choice appears to suit him. When Cory comes for his father's funeral at the end of the play, he is doing well. He has even fallen in love with a young woman and is planning to marry. Cory is doing his best to make a different life for himself, one that does not follow in his father's footsteps.

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