The play Fences was written by African-American writer August Wilson in 1985. It is the sixth installment in Wilson’s ten-part series, Pittsburgh Cycle. In 1987, it was awarded both the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The title of the play, Fences, symbolizes its central themes and the relationships of the characters to one another. Its literal presence in the play is Troy and Cory’s long-standing construction of a fence for their home. Figuratively, however, it refers to the many types of intangible barriers that surround Troy and his loved ones—the emotional barrier between Troy and Cory, between Troy and Rose, and the racial and socio-economic barriers that have hounded Troy all his life.
In act 2, scene 1, fences are described as barriers that serve to either keep something out or keep something in. Tony believes in the former while Rose believes in the latter—thus, the construction of a fence for their home serves to emphasize the contrast between their...
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