Compare and contrast a character in Fences and A Raisin in the Sun.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that there can be many characterizations which are comparable in both dramas.  For me, I think it would be interesting to assess the women in both dramas.  There are some similarities between Ruth and Rose.  Both are very supportive of their husbands during trying times.  Ruth supports Walter in all of his futility.  She sees herself as needing to stand up for her husband and does not hesitate to offer support as opportunities arise when questioning Walter seems to be an appropriate path to take.  Rose is equally zealous in defense and support of her husband.  While Troy displays a level of difficulty in embracing with his anger and frustration, as well as his fundamental inability to show emotion in a healthy context, Rose does not hesitate in supporting him.  There are some significant differences, due in part to the husbands, themselves.  While there might be hints or intimations that Walter is on a path that strays from the sanctity of marriage, there is nothing to clearly indicate that he has gone wayward. This is not the same for Troy, who confesses to Rose that he is involved with Alberta. This disclosure causes her to emotionally separate from her husband, something that we do not see Ruth do.  Additionally, Rose must navigate between another woman, a child from that relationship, as well as navigate through another child, Lyons, from a previous relationship.  In addition to her responsibility to Cory, Rose must endure all of these harrowing emotional challenges.  This is a cross that Ruth, herself, does not have to endure.  Ruth's challenges are economic and looking out for her family in such a context.  This makes her character and Rose's character a bit different in the level of emotional crucibles that have to be endured.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lena Younger in Raisin in the Sun is in many ways similar to Troy Maxson in Fences. They are both middle-aged, African American people who head their families and who come from families with a history of struggling. They both dream of their children experiencing something better. They are also hardworking and dedicated to their families (though Troy has a mistress, he still remains committed to his family). They both break color barriers—Lena by buying a house in a white neighborhood, and Troy by becoming the first African American driver on a garbage truck route.

However, they differ in that Lena believes she can successfully cross the color barrier, and, at the end of the play, she leaves for her new house with a sense of optimism. She also encourages her children, Walter and Beneatha, to pursue their dreams. Troy, on the other hand, is disillusioned when he becomes a garbage truck driver, and he misses the companionship of working on the back of the truck with other people. He also fears his son, Cory, will not be successful playing football in the white world and discourages him from doing so. Lena has hope in integration, while Troy fears that the white world will destroy him and his family and keeps up a literal and figurative fence to keep the world at bay.