What is the theme or one of the themes of Fences by August Wilson?

Themes in Fences by August Wilson include love versus obligation, interpretation of history, death, responsibility, and the way in which racism interferes with dreams.

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One theme in Fences is love—more specifically, the balancing act of love versus obligation. Troy is a character who has difficulty placing his love in his family. Perhaps this difficulty stems from the fact that he loves himself too much, but more likely, it stems from the fact that he hates himself too much.

When Cory confronts his father asking whether or not he likes him, Troy responds: “Liked you? Who the hell say I got to like you?” (1.3). Troy sees his parenthood as an obligation, something to be wrestled with and conquered. His pugnacious outlook towards life inhibits him from enjoying what he has and the people around him. His lack of appreciation extends to his wife, Rose . When he confesses to his affair he says to her: “Locked myself into a pattern trying to take care of you all ... forgot about myself” (2.1). Again, it is clear that from Troy’s perspective love is an obligation. It goes deeper than not being able to love his family; Troy seems incapable of accepting love...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 819 words.)

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