What is Troy's occupation in Fences?

Quick answer:

In Fences by August Wilson, Troy Maxson works as a garbage collector, but he used to play baseball.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In August Wilson's play Fences, Troy Maxson is a garbage collector. He has long been the man who gets out of the truck and lifts the garbage cans, tilting their contents into the truck. But at the beginning of the play, he actually gets a promotion to driver of the truck.

This is a very big deal, for previously, only white men have held this position. There is, however, a problem. Troy doesn't have a driver's license. He isn't especially concerned, for he doesn't see what is so hard about driving a truck.

Actually, being a garbage collector is a huge step down for Troy, considering his past. Troy was a baseball player, and a good one that that. He could knock the ball right out of the park. Unfortunately, Troy could never join the major leagues because of his race: at that time, Black men were not allowed.

Having a good job and taking care of his family is important to Troy, and he tries to impress that importance upon his two sons, Lyons and Cory. They both disappoint him. Lyons is a musician, and he wants to focus on his music. Troy offers to get him a job as a garbage collector, but Lyons refuses. He has other dreams.

Cory wants to play football, but Troy insists that he work at the grocery store. Troy saw what happened when he tried to pursue a career in sports, and he doesn't want the same to happen to Cory. Troy doesn't, however, understand that things have changed a bit since his day. Cory ends up in the military.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial