Early in Wilson's play, music and athletics are singled out as the best opportunity for young black men to escape the ghetto existence of black urban life. How does this play into Cory's enlistment into the Marines?
Certainly, exploring the social and historical implications on the enlistment of African-American men in the Armed Forces in the late 1960s is something that will exceed what space is here. In terms of the play, I think that Cory's enlistment represented a desire to crave a sense of structure and order that was missing in living with his father. Troy's "rule" over Cory consisted of him trying to live out his own psychological demons as a father, something of which Cory wanted no part at the midpoint of Act II. The military provided a sense of structure and regularity to Cory, something that was absent in the life of Troy. The father's own condition of being uncertain about his job, his marriage, his family obligations, as well as his own sense of self were all too much for Cory to bear. His desire for hope and for accomplishing some semblance of order in his life became challenged while living with Troy. It is for this reason that the military helped him to envision a chance at happiness, something seen in the end with his own hopes for a family and sense of a new start. In his enlistment in the armed forces, Cory strives to embrace a future and hope, something that is diametrically opposed to Troy's bitter embrace of the past and despair.