What are the various conflicts between Cory and Troy and Troy and his father throughout Fences?Wilson focuses on parent-child conflicts throughout Fences.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The fundamental issue between the parent/ child relationships in the drama revolves around what it means to nurture a child.  Troy and his father lack the affect to nurture their children.  The relationship between Troy and his father was predicated upon abuse and control.  In this configuration, there is a noticeable absence of nuturing and emotional development.  Troy recognizes this, and understands this condition in his own background.  He also understands how this will impact his relationship with his own son.  Yet, in the end, Troy is a stunted father.  He is stunted with the ability to nurture and develop emotional attachments to people.  This is part of his residing in a world of "emotional fences."  Troy is also stunted for while he recognizes the abuse that his father displayed to him, he also understands that he lacks the vocabulary to show anything else for this is all he knows.  It is for this reason that in the most intense of moments with Cory, Troy's bluster and demand for respect is all that he knows.  When Cory divulges his dreams, Troy's lack of emotional affect kicks in and through a demonstration of "fight or flight," he demands that Cory show obedience.  It is because of his own lack of emotional vocabulary that he is unable to fully understand the complexities and nuances of the situation, and is part of the reason why the relationship fractures between them.  In the end, the lack of parents being able to talk in emotional terms to their children is what defines the relationships between Troy and his son and Troy and his father.