"Fences" Book Review example

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From my perspective, Troy Maxwell, the protagonist of the story, is not one of those heroes who would receive a lot of sympathy from the reader’s side.

He starts off with invoking sympathy at the very beginning of the play having a friendly chat, talking nonsense, telling some tall tales and creating a feeling that he is yet another unjustly deprived man. Still, when the story unravels, a very different picture reveals. His behavior often runs counter to what is generally expected of a family man. When he trips over it is not under the weight of the circumstances but due to his own ill-doing and selfishness. Three main instances could be given where these features are at display.

The first example is related to his relationship with his son Cory. He refuses to sign Cory’s papers that would allow him to play baseball professionally, saying that it will lead to no good. Still, Troy could be suspected of a hidden motive, as he does not allow his son something that he himself was unable to reach. It is in this scene as well where one of the crucial breakdowns between Cory and Troy happens resulting in Cory’s question “How come you ain’t never liked me?” (Wilson 504) and Troy’s answer “I like you? You about the biggest fool I ever saw. (Pause) It’s my job. It’s my responsibility” (Wilson 505)

Second thing which could arouse antipathy to protagonist is his attitude to his brother. Almost everything he possesses, he obtained thanks to his brother. And yet, first Troy drives him out of the house, and then, when in need of money, sends him back in asylum. He is hypocritical about it, never confessing the real reasons behind his actions. Even when Rose confronts him in Act Two, Scene 2, Troy says “I ain’t signed nothing, woman!” (Wilson 530) which is a total lie. He does not really care about Gabriel’s well-being, only about his own comfort.

The third and probably the most off-putting example is his infidelity to his wife and fathering a baby with another woman. After all the talks about his love and responsibility he feels toward his family he says to Rose, the woman who practically saved him from himself after prison and spend many years at his side “I just want to have a little time for myself… a little time to enjoy life” (Wilson 529).

At the end of the play, before Troy’s funeral, Cory caps it all by saying: “Papa was like a shadow that followed you everywhere. It weighed on you and sunk into your flesh”(Wilson 542). Troy had a heavy presence on everyone in the family blaming them for his own misfortunes and making them miserable for his own sins. It is quite unlikely that such a character would invoke sympathy in the reader.

Works Cited

Wilson, August. “Fences” Drama: A Pocket Anthology. 3rd edition, Penguin Academics, …

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