Throughout the play “Fences” by August Wilson, the character of Troy is constantly trying to shape Cory into the person he wants Cory to be, rather than permit Cory to explore possibilities and make his own decisions. These dynamics compel Cory to take drastic measures in an attempt to create the change that he wants to experience and to become the person that he envisions. The drastic measures Cory employs involve verbal and physical violence against his father. Each episode of violence changes the dynamic between father and son, but also changes Cory himself. He begins to think that aggression is the only means of creating meaningful change. While he may be correct in thinking that violence changes situations and people, he does not fully understand the implications of change for everyone touched by the conflict and this shapes his character.
Born on April 27, 1945, August Wilson grew up in the Hill district of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His childhood experiences in this black slum community would later inform his dramatic writings, including his first produced play, Black Bart and the Sacred Hills, which was staged in 1981.Then, in 1984, August Wilson was catapulted to the forefront of the American theatre scene with the success of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, produced at Yale and later in New York in 1984. The play was voted Best Play of the Year (1984-85) by the New York Drama Critics' Circle.
Wilson continued to work in close collaboration with Lloyd Richards of the Yale School of Drama, and by early 1990's, had established himself as the best known and most popular African-American playwright. Wilson also set for himself a daunting task--to write a ten play cycle that chronicles each decade of the black experience in the 20th century. Each of Wilson's plays is a chapter in this remarkable cycle of plays and focuses on what Wilson perceives as the largest issue to confront African-Americans in that decade.
The playwright deftly handles such complex social issues as racism and adultery without smug commentary. The subtle discussion of black America offers more insight than lecture, which heightens the dramatic impact upon the audience. Wilson recognizes that the family lies the foundation for American society as a whole, and shrewdly chooses family as the emphasis for "Fences."
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Arguably August Wilson's most renowned work, Fences explores the life and relationships of the Maxson family. This moving drama was written in 1983 and earned Wilson his first Pulitzer Prize.(Meyer,2007)
The play's central focus is the Maxson's, the instrument Wilson uses to introduce African-American culture to those who are unfamiliar. In the mid-1950s, America was still experiencing a post-World War II economic boon, and could at last allow foreign affairs to take a back seat to domestic issues. The social climate was becoming increasingly heated with the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, which ruled school segregation was ...