In Fences and A Raisin in the Sun, which father is more sympathetic?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a tough question because a case can be made for either father as being more sympathetic.  While Troy might not be a candidate for father of the year, one can understand the predicament in which he is immersed given his own background.  Troy's demons run deep and the fact that he acknowledges the wrongs done to him by his father and he struggles to display love to his son without a guide as to what this resembles makes him a figure where empathy is evoked.  However, I think that Walter is a more sympathetic father figure.  I think that he distinguishes himself from Troy because he seeks to transcend his own past, whereby Troy finds himself a victim of it.  There is nothing preventing him from taking Lindner's money.  It would help him recover from his own loss of funds and allow him to achieve his own dream.  Yet, he understands the burden of responsibility he has to his own family and the role he occupies in guiding them.  In rejecting the money and embracing a much more difficult path, Walter strikes me as the father who is more sympathetic because he seeks to embrace a hopeful vision of the future.  Regrettably, this does not seem to be something in Troy's composition because of his own past and the fact that he feels disconnected to the emotional world around him.  The "fences" that prevent him from embracing another are seeking to be torn down in Walter's setting, which is why I would find him to be the more sympathetic of the two figures.