What is the role of baseball in Fences?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Additionally, I would say that baseball symbolizes the American Dream.

In American culture, baseball is known as something that is quintessentially American (although it now has significant appeal in Cuba and Japan). Troy's inability to enter professional baseball, despite his talent, is not unlike the inability of black men to enter the middle-class jobs they desired in their migration to northern cities (early in the play, in its exposition, August Wilson narrates those men's disappointment when they confronted the same racism that limited their lives in the South).

For Troy, baseball—like the American Dream—seemed just at the edge of his fingertips. Rose attempts to reason with him, saying that he just came along too early, before Jackie Robinson had entered the Major Leagues. Troy scoffs at this and argues that he had seen plenty of players who were better than Jackie Robinson, and that if you're good "they should let you play." His problem is that no one let him "play," or display his...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 658 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team