The play Fences is set in the 1950s and presents themes regarding the African American experience during this time in American history. Music has always played an important role in the African American community, and groundbreaking musical contributions have been made by this community, especially in the areas of jazz, gospel, and blues (and later, rock n' roll). Wilson uses these three genres as symbols to reflect the lives of his characters.
In scene 2 of act 1, Rose is hanging up laundry, singing an old gospel hymn:
Jesus, be a fence all around me every day Jesus, I want you to protect me as I travel on my way. Jesus, be a fence all around me every day. Jesus, I want you to protect me as I travel on my way.
This hymn reflects Rose's deep faith and the importance in her life of God and the church. It also fortifies the symbol of the "fence" that Wilson uses throughout the play. In this metaphor, Rose is beseeching Jesus for protection, just as she asks Troy to repair the physical fence in their...
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