What might the fence come to stand for or symbolize in the play? Why might Fences, plural, be a more apt title than The Fence? Be sure to provide textual evidence to support your discussion.

The fence symbolizes both the barriers that divide and the ties that bind the Maxson family to one another. The name Fences is a more apt title than The Fence simply because these barriers and ties are numerous, separate, and often completely opposite in nature. How a character approaches the task of building the literal fence hints at how they feel about connection.

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Much of the action of the play revolves around an ongoing point of contention regarding a fence that needs to be built in the Maxson's back yard. This fence is central to the play because it serves as a symbol for the connections between members of the Maxson family. For Rose, the most practical of the Maxsons, a fence symbolizes something that is most closely akin to its literal purpose, the protection and perimeter of the family. She makes this abundantly clear in her prayers, saying "Jesus, be a fence around me every day." To her, the fence is being built to keep the family together and safe.

To Troy, however, the fence is something that represents the separation he feels from those in his life, most often facilitated by his own actions. He alienates his wife by impulsively cheating on her, and his son by being jealous of his athletic potential. Troy repeatedly puts up these metaphorical "fences" to keep out everyone around him, because on some level he believes that settling into his family life means the death of his dream. This is why the title Fences is more apt: every character has a different fence. Troy has a unique way of isolating and separating from everyone around him. However, he still does show some remorse for his unwillingness to build Rose's version of the fence. In one of the most profound moments of the play, he states that he's "coming in and everybody's going out." He feels a moment of sadness for his unwillingness or perhaps inability to keep his family together.

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