Compare and contrast Troy in "Fences" and Walter in A Raisin in the Sun.

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jerseygyrl1983 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One important point of comparison between the two is the role of children in their lives.

Walter Younger is initially averse to Ruth's pregnancy, as he thinks that it will be yet another hindrance in his effort to advance himself. Walter and Troy both hold fantasies of grandeur—really, Walter wants to be one of the men whom he drives around in his role as chauffeur, and Troy wants to become a baseball player, despite the fact that he came along "too soon," before the Major Leagues were integrated.

Troy gets his mistress, Roberta, pregnant with a little girl whom he decides to raise. His willingness to take responsibility for the child, which becomes especially necessary after Roberta dies in childbirth, demonstrates his desire to be successful with at least one thing in his life. He was a poor father to his sons, treating them with the cruelty and indifference that he had accepted from others, including his own father. What is similar between the two is that their selfishness prevents them, at times, from seeing how they are loved.

A Raisin in the Sun ends with the promise of Walter taking his family, and its new addition, to a home with enough room for all. With his mother's help, he has achieved a bit of what he wanted—the desire to own property. Fences ends more tragically, with Troy still fighting against death and the reality of his failures.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Troy in Fences and Walter in A Raisin in the Sun are both angry over what they feel have been their limited choices in life. Troy's chances to play professional sports were limited because he is African American, and he makes his living on a garbage truck. Walter works as a chauffeur but wants to open a liquor store with the money his family has inherited from his father's life insurance policy. Both men experience the hardships of making money and providing for their families as African Americans, and both challenge the racist system. Troy asks to become the first African American garbage truck driver, and Walter decides not to take a bribe to stay out of a white neighborhood.

However, Troy and Walter ultimately make different choices about their families. Walter decides to join his family as they move to a new neighborhood and to support their choices, while Troy winds up distanced from his two sons. Walter finds a place within his family, while Troy alienates those around him.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both of these men feel trapped by society and the rules put upon them only because they are black men.  The title of Troy's play, "Fences" gives this away...Troy is trapped and blocked on all sides by what he wants (his dream of baseball).  Walter is also depicted by the title of his play--he is the raisin--dried up by the sun of society rather than allowing him to remain a fully intact and juicy grape, full of life and freedom.  Walter's problem is coupled by his poor choices and trust in people who are not worthy of his trust.  He is betrayed not only by society, but also by friends and family.

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