How would you characterize the father/son relationships in the play "Fences"?

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The relationship between Troy and Cory Maxson is bitter and tense. Troy's hostile attitude stems from his past. He blames racism for keeping him from attaining his dream of playing major league baseball, and he can't let go of this resentment. The pain Troy feels from his past doesn't allow him to let his family get close because he has built a fence of anger and misery around himself. This fence protects Troy from being hurt any further, but it also robs him of his family's love. When Cory has the chance to get a college football scholarship, Troy denies his son the opportunity to achieve what he couldn't. Cory cannot forgive his father for it. Troy is both jealous and protective of Cory. He's afraid Cory will achieve what was denied to him, but he also wants to spare Cory from the racism that Troy faced. Cory finally leaves home when he and his father end up in a physical fight. Cory knows he can never please his father, and his feelings for Troy have turned to hatred.

Troy has another son, Lyons, by a former marriage, but he treats Lyons the same as he does Cory. He is indifferent and uncaring to Lyons as well. Lyons turns out to be much like Troy, ending up in jail just like his father.

In the end, Cory shows up for Troy's funeral, but Cory is still not sure how he feels about his father. The fence Troy built around himself will affect Cory forever, but we can hope Cory is a better father to his child