Using different characters from the drama, how might Fences be considered as a play about the relationship of fathers and sons?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the father/ son theme is an important one in Wilson's drama.  There are many different issues that are raised in the drama, external ones that are internalized.  Race, class, and gender issues are a part of this.  Another one is the psychological resonance of how parents treat children and the scars that remain as a result of this. Troy's own experience with his own father causes him to be limited in how he can care for his son, Cory.  Troy understands the neglect and abuse his father heaped upon him was bad and that this did irreparable damage to their own relationship.  While Troy wishes to avoid this with Cory, he is unable to fully transcend these wounds.  The only way in which Troy can show parenting is through violence and force.  At the same time, Bono understands this, something he terms "walking blues."  He recognizes that the sins that the previous generation visited upon the children was something to be avoided in this generation.   It is for this reason that Bono recognizes what was done in the past and does not seek to replicate it in the future.  In both men, Wilson presents a compelling portrait of how the past impacts the present and the future.  This is one in which individuals must acknowledge and understand the role of the past in how they choose to be impacted by it in the future.  The psychological impact caused by the child and parent relationship is a part of this configuration.

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