What do Fences and A Raisin in the Sun say about the generation gap?

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

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I think that Wilson's work speaks more to a generation gap than Hansberry's work.  In Walter's transformation, there is a bridging of age based perceptions of the world.  Mama, Ruth, Beneatha, Travis, and Walter are all from different points in life.  Yet, the decision to move into Clybourne Park is one all of them embrace.  In Walter's transformation, a connection between all generations is met.  However, Wilson's work gives a view of the generational gap. The generational gap is seen in the difference between the Troy and Cory in their perception of dreams.  In Act III, Troy demands that Cory gives up his dream of playing football.  This was a similar dream that Troy himself had with baseball.  Troy demands that Cory demonstrate respect as a son towards his father.  However, the discontent that Troy experiences with the world is not what Cory experiences.  Over time it seems that there has been more discontent experienced in Wilson's work.  When Jim Bono speaks of the "walking blues" that his father and Troy's father experienced, a syndrome that prevented them from being able to be better fathers who were more active in their children's lives, it is a statement of the generation gap that was experienced.  While Troy is more present in his childrens' lives than his own father, there is still a gap in how both father and son view reality.  When Cory leaves to pursue his own life and embrace what consciousness offers while Troy dies an embittered man trapped by emotional "fences," it is a reflection of the generational gap that Wilson sees existing between men of Troy's generation and men of Cory's.

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