Fences Questions and Answers
by August Wilson

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Is Troy capable of loving in Fences?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Troy is a complex man.  One of Wilson's strength is that his construction of Troy is one that is layered with intricacy.  Therefore, it is not entirely easy to parse whether he is a loving man.  What is known is that Troy has lacked the insight to prevent the absorption of social ills into his own psyche.  The difficult of consciousness in the modern setting for someone of color and someone of challenging economic conditions has been taken appropriated into Troy's own consciousness.  At the same time, his own psychology is one where love was not openly or easily shown.  This makes him seeking to display love, but incapable of knowing how to express or display it.  This would be why he forbids his son to pursue a dream, one that was blighted in Troy's own experience.  His need to be responsible for Rose and his family is done out of some level of love and devotion.  However, his love for a life without responsibility is what compels him to seek shelter in the arms of Alberta.  Troy does possess love in his heart, yet it is blunted by all the experiences of the world that seek to drag him down.  I think that this is probably why Troy can only show love through a filtered lens, where there is significant question as to whether it is there at all.  Yet, like so much in his life, it is hidden and whether it is exposed is in question.

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