Is Wilson's portrayal of Troy too harsh in Fences?Does it confirm common prejudices or stereotypes about black men?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a fairly interesting topic that all writers must face when they attempt to articulate the condition of those who are placed under the crushing weight of social pressure.  On one hand, if Wilson portrays Troy in a manner where social realities are not present, he would have to eat the criticism of being too lenient and overly positivistic, and thus lack reality and credibility in his depiction.  At the same time, if Wilson chose to portray Troy, as he did, as one who is trapped by the gravity of social pressure, then the writer has to succumb to the critique that he is merely reaffirming racial and social stereotypes.  In my mind, both options give the artist "no exit."  I think that Wilson's portrayal is more of a mirror of what is in the hopes of creating what can be.  We can see the character of Cory as one who defies the traditionalist stereotype and a character that possesses a sense of hope.  In this light, one can see that Wilson is more committed to presenting his characters with a sense of honesty and sobriety, as opposed to remaining fearful of labels.

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