Why is the play Fences important?

Fences is important because it provides a new perspective on themes like race, masculinity, and love. Wilson shows how factors like racial segregation and gender expectations can complicate interpersonal relationships. His presentation of these themes can help audience members develop a more in-depth understanding of their own relationships.

Expert Answers

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

August Wilson’s play Fences is important for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that it explores critical themes like race and masculinity. Wilson demonstrates how US society has betrayed the African American people. He highlights how hard life is for African Americans in Northern industrial cities and shows how the promise of freedom and economic success in the North did not come to fruition for most members of the Black community. Through the story of the Maxson family, Wilson shows how the traumatic impacts of racial segregation can be carried from one generation to the next.

The play is also important because of the way it explores complex familial relationships. For example, consider how Troy and Cory’s difficult relationship is like that of so many fathers and sons. Wilson shows the conflict between them from both perspectives so that the audience understands why Troy does not want Cory to pursue football.

In revealing the different layers and points of view in difficult relationships, the play can help people understand their own relationships a bit better. It provides viewers with a new perspective on love and shows how pressures like gender expectations and family loyalty can impact how people express love.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team