Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 427
Extended Character Analysis
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Rose Lee Maxson is Troy’s wife. At forty-three, Rose is ten years younger than Troy, and she is strong, resilient, and loving. She is extremely loyal and has been married to Troy for eighteen years. Despite Troy’s faults, Rose supports him in everything he does. As Wilson states in the stage directions, “[Rose] recognizes Troy’s spirit as a fine and illuminating one and she either ignores or forgives his faults.” Rose recognizes that, despite his failings, Troy has many strengths: he is honest, talkative, humorous, hard-working, and willing to care for and protect the ones he loves.
Rose is the peacemaker of the family. Unlike Troy, who builds metaphorical barriers to distance himself from his loved ones, Rose builds connections to keep her family united. She provides Lyons with money when he comes around for his weekly visits, and she stands by Cory when Troy tries to dissuade him from playing football. When Troy argues with Rose about the events of his life, she reminds him that she has stuck by him through everything. She demonstrates her loyalty when she tells Troy that after she chose him as a husband, she relinquished some of her own desires and gave everything she had—her feelings, wants, needs, and dreams—to him and their life together.
However, throughout the play Rose becomes increasingly disappointed in her husband. She completely severs ties with Troy after she discovers that he has been having an affair with Alberta, who is pregnant with Troy’s child. When Troy comes to Rose for help with raising his daughter, Raynell, Rose selflessly obliges. She realizes that the child is innocent and should not have to suffer for her parents’ sins. However, Rose completely loses faith in her husband after this, and she effectively cuts off communication with him, although they continue to live together.
In the years before Troy's funeral, Rose cares for Raynell, who grows into a sweet little girl. In the final scene of the play, during Troy’s funeral Rose again serves as the peacemaker of the Maxson family, calling for unity and healing. She has found religion and the strength to forgive Troy. When Cory is hesitant to attend his father’s funeral, she encourages him to go and to respect his father’s memory. She encourages all of her family members to remember Troy in a positive light. She recognizes that despite his faults, he provided her with everything she could hope for—financial stability, a safe home, a loving family, and a good life.