How does racism impact Troy in Fences?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One way of responding to this excellent question is to consider the way in which fences operate in this provocative play. Clearly, racism is one fence that encloses black characters such as Troy and prevent them from achieving their dreams and hopes. The opening of the play gives us an excellent example of this, as Troy is telling Bono about how he has complained about how it is only white men that can drive the truck for garbage collection, and it is the blacks, like him, who actually have to handle the garbage:

I went to Mr. Rand and asked him, "Why? Why you got the white mens driving and the coloured lifting?" Told him, "what's the matter, don't I count? You think only white fellows got sense enough to drive a truck. That ain't no proper job! Hell, anybody can drive a truck. How come you got all whites driving and the coloured lifting?"

As the play progresses, we see that this is just one way in which racism represents a fence that fences in characters such as Troy and prevents them from achieving their dreams and goals. What is interesting though, is the way that Troy responds to the way that he has been fenced in by wanting to similarly fence in his son and prevent him from trying to acheive his goals and follow his dreams and become a footballer.

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