What does the setting section of Fences tell you about the Maxson family ?  

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting suggests that the Maxson family is poor and, to some extent, divided. Their house is an "ancient two-story brick house" with a porch that "lacks congruence" with the house.

There is need for paint and the yard setting is completed by two oil drums that "serve as garbage receptacles".

This is an image of a home, but a home that is does not provide the comforts of class. It is a place in need of work - the fence in unfinished - which gives a sense of being unfinished. This state of being stands in somewhat ironic contrast to the age of the building.

We might take this as a symbolic comment on the family's patriarch, Troy, who is old enough to be mature and "fully formed" but who demonstrates serious lapses in character during the play.