Discuss the changing relationship between Bono and Troy in Fences.

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Bono and Troy's friendship serves as a type of juxtaposition technique in Wilson's play. Bono in some ways is Troy's foil. Where Troy is charismatic, Bono is mild-mannered. We see this in the opening scene of the play when Troy is dramatically telling his story about wrestling death and Bono and Rose sit and listen, excusing Troy's exaggeration. Bono is amused by Troy's story, but to Troy, it is the story of his greatest struggles, further exemplifying their different outlooks on life. Bono take things simply and easily. Troy takes things hard and personally.

Where Troy is ambitious, Bono is humble. Troy wants to be a driver for the sanitation department, but Bono is satisfied riding the back of the truck. He doesn't particularly care for the work, it seems, but he isn't in a frenzy over getting a promotion like Troy seems to be. He tamely reminds Troy that colored men don't drive the trucks and that Troy doesn't even have a license to drive, but Troy cannot accept his own limitations, and he is driven to frustration when Bono reminds him of them.

Where Troy is unfaithful, Bono stays true. Indeed, in this last point, Bono becomes a clear contrast to Troy as he implores for Troy to stay faithful to Rose after he notices that Troy has been seeing Alberta after work. Troy lies to Bono at first, but he comes clean after Bono questions him one day about it. Troy, by this time, has no intention of leaving Alberta because she is pregnant, and also because he likes having her around. He tells Rose that Alberta makes him feel like he's young again, which makes Rose upset since she has been feeling unsatisfied as well while remaining faithful to Troy. This contrasts with Bono's relationship to his wife, as they are faithful to one another and satisfied in their family life, concerning themselves over appliances and chores rather than deep-rooted yearnings for an exciting life.

Foils are used in literature to emphasize the personalities of protagonists, and often they create conflict in the traditional man vs. man set-up. But in Wilson's play, the conflict is internal, with Troy's own insecurities and disappointments creating the drama. Bono is Troy's opposite in that he is not driven by his inner demons. He is content and clear-headed, making Troy's passion seem even larger and more dramatic than it seems on its own.

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There are a couple of reasons that Wilson has constructed the relationship between Troy and Bono in the manner he has.  The fact that both men are strikingly similar at the start of the drama is important to note.  Both of them are challenged by the same economic and social reality.  Yet, Bono understands this for what it is and refuses to acquiesce to it, while Troy cannot move past it and almost becomes a victim to that which he hates so much.  Bono has recognized these realities and still refuses to let these forces define him.  He has found happiness with his own life, recognizes how social and economic forces have impacted other people in his life, such as the men of the previous generation.  To avoid these "walking blues," and the idea of being perpetually miserable, Bono has adopted a perspective on life where a small corner of personal consciousness has been established where there is contentment and happiness.  Troy has not done this.  While Bono has refused to become victim to the world around him, Troy's anger and hatred at these settings have almost trapped him.  The opening scene's discussion about Troy's relationship with Alberta brings to light how different both men view the realm of the private.  What Troy sees as burdensome and of weight, Bono sees as lightness.  In the end, the different paradigms that each men  adopt towards consciousness helps to drive the wedge between their friendship.  Bono recognizes that while his friendship with Troy is important, he also grasps that there is a level of misery in Troy's heart that cannot be alleviated.  This is something that Bono cannot risk, as his happiness is one that could be appreciated by Troy if he possessed the moral courage to do so.  The fact that both men separate helps to bring to light that Troy's self- destructive path is not something to which all men have to become victim:  Bono's positive relationship with Lucille demonstrates that a man has the ability to change the direction of his life.

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