What is the moral of the play Fences?

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The moral of Fences by August Wilson is that love prevails even through the trials of life and the wrong choices people make. Troy Maxson has a rough life and makes many wrong choices, but he does love. Rose, Lyons, Cory, and Gabriel also show love throughout the play.

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The moral of August Wilson's play Fences is that even though life is hard and people make wrong choices, love still prevails. Troy Maxson has had a rough life. He grew up with an abusive father. His baseball career was cut short, and he ended up in prison. He has already had one failed marriage. Now, he is cheating on his wife, Rose, and actually has a baby with his girlfriend. Troy has no end of conflicts with his sons, and overall, he tends to be an angry man who has failed to find what he wants out of life, usually because he has sabotaged himself with poor choices.

Yet there is plenty of love in this play. In his own way, Troy loves his two sons, Lyons and Cory, and he wants what is best for them. He wants them to become the man he is not. Lyons fails to please his father when he becomes a musician and later ends up in prison, yet he still loves his father. Cory is angry with Troy when Troy prevents him from playing football, and the resentment remains even up to Troy's funeral, when Rose explains to Cory that Troy really did try to act out of love for his son. Cory discovers that he loves his father, too.

Rose stands at the center of love in this play. She loves Troy deeply and continues to love him even after he cheats on her. Their relationship changes (as it must after this breach of trust), but they remain together. And in an act of true self-sacrificing love, Rose raises Troy's baby after the child's mother dies. She takes Raynell as her own daughter, realizing that a child needs a mother and unwilling to blame the little girl for her parents' misdeeds. This is real love.

Finally, Gabriel shows great love in this play. A brain injury has left him rather strange, but he loves Troy and Rose and the children with his whole heart, and he is determined that his brother will go to Heaven. Gabriel is both simple and complex in his love, and his love is deep and real.

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What is the message of the play Fences?

Fences shows the impact of racism on a family, and especially its patriarch, Troy Maxson, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, as the Civil Rights movement was gaining stream and the world for Black people was beginning to change.

The play emphasizes the ways Troy has been damaged by racism and the way his internal damage impacts his family. Troy has a keen awareness of race and how institutional racism has limited his chances in life. He says, for example, that Black people are

born with two strikes on [them] before [they] come to the plate.

He speaks often of the devil and identifies it at times with the Ku Klux Klan, a potent symbol of racism and terror. He speaks of the disappointments Black people face: for example, coming to Pittsburgh was not the promised land he had hoped, because institutional racism existed there as well as in the South: Troy says, "you couldn't find no place to live."

Troy takes advantage of the moment of racial change he is living through during the play to get a job driving a garbage truck rather than working on the back of one, but that, too, turns out to be a disappointment, as Troy finds it lonely, showing that it is more than racism that plagues him: what plagues him is something universal in the human experience.

Troy's pain and damage have an impact on his family: he narrowly defines his responsibilities as physically providing food and shelter for them, but he is incapable of providing the love and emotional nurturing they need.

The message is that fences are not only external, such as those that prevented Black people from living in certain neighborhoods or having certain jobs, but also internal, such as those that people build in themselves and in relationships.

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