Masculinity is one of the metaphorical "fences" in the play. Troy, particularly, but also Cory, Lyons, and Gabriel struggle with, and are limited by, notions of masculinity which often have nothing to do with who they are or whom they wish to be.
Lyons, it seems, has been less impacted than the other characters, for he has the courage to pursue his creative interests, even if they render him less able to provide. He is adamant about the necessity of his musical expression, for it gives him a sense of identity and purpose. It is possible to read Gabriel as a kind of foil for Lyons. He desperately blows on his trumpet, which emits no sound. Gabriel has a metal plate in his head as a result of being almost mortally wounded in the Second World War. He did what men were expected to do at the time: go to war, an act that had the opposite effect on his construction of identity, as he lost his power of expression.
Decades later, Cory repeats his uncle's act by going into the military during a time...
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