In August Wilson's play, Fences, the attitude towards women is that they are incapable, unimportant, and have the same worth is objects that can be bought and sold. To contrast the fact that a male playwright wrote this, if a female were to write a version of Fences it would be more focused on the women and their feelings, hardships, and emotions rather than just focusing on the men's. From the few women that are in Fences, we can see that they both defy and typify the standard roles for women in the 1950s. The women in Fences are hard-working and will not stand for it when met with an injustice. To further the theme of sexism Fences, we can see the attitude towards women throughout the text.
They are constantly being overlooked, seen as incapable, and treated like objects. Examples of this poor treatment include the conversation on page 5 where Troy talks to his own wife like she is lesser than him. what you worried about what we getting into for? This is men talk, woman. Rose is told off and talked to like she was in Troys way and is incapable of comprehending what he is saying. Another example of miss treatment is when Troy calls for Rose like a dog and expect her to stay silent and act unbothered. you supposed to come when I call you, woman.(P.43) with Troy wants to show his ownership over Rose, he says woman at the end of his request as if it was an insult. Do you examples show how overlooked Rose's feelings are, and how she is shown ownership and that it is a woman's job to respect and serve her husband rather than their marriage being a mutual agreement. Troy says hurtful things and doesn't give roses feelings a second thought. Rose seems just as a step in Troys life that helps him get to home base'.
This is the attitude towards women instances and how their feelings are not highlighted in the text due to its focus being on the men. In contrast to men being the main focus of Fences, what if it were written by a female author? If it was, she would more focus on the women's roles in Fences and their emotions, hardships, and life in general. Evidence of this shows itself in scenes that mention women briefly, but don't show their side of the story. Early in the book, Troy told Rose that his conversation with Bono is men talk(P.5) and that she should just leave him alone. How a female author would've approached this scene is how to show how Rose must've felt after that comment was made and how incapable it must have made her feel. another example of a scene or female play right would've written better what is the scene the Troy threatens to physically harm Roos after she questioned him and expresses to him all the sacrifices she made for their relationship. Rose had every right to express how she felt about Troy doing this.
After she expressed some of her feelings, Troy decides to become physical with her and grab her Rose turns to exit the house, Troy grabs her arm. (P.71) What we don't see at this moment is the fear and betrayal that must've been running through Rose's head after her husband of 18 years decided to do what he had promised not to do when they got married, hurt her. Troy, at this moment, betrayed the trust he'd been building for 18 years and became a villain to his own wife. This scene is one of the few times we get to see how Rose is feeling in the consequences of her expressing herself to Troy.
After this encounter, Rose and Troy's relationship was never the same. Troy has a need to control everything in his life, including Rose and her emotions. He didn't like the truth that finally came out of her mouth, so he tried to control her by keeping it shut. If a female author was to re-write this scene, she would show more of Rose's internal dialogue and more of the hurt that she was feeling physically and mentally. Because how this scene is written originally, it only shows her fight or flight response and not the internal blame and conflict she was feeling inside. These thoughts are really shown in senses and or even more rarely acted upon. If they were to show more refute, it would start a conflict. Starting conflict with the man at this time, especially with your husband, was defying roles for the time and could make a woman become hurt mentally or physically. In Fences, the women more defied roles than typified them, but elements of both defying and typifying the roles are present. Evidence of this include when Troy calls Rose like a dog, and rather than staying silent and doing as she's told, She stands up for herself and says Man, hush your mouth. I ain't no dog...talk about come when you call me.(P.43) She acknowledges the poor treatment and doesn't play host to it without voicing her opinion. This defies roles at the time because women were seen as inferior to men and things that should do as men command.
Rose and many other women didn't agree with this but it was seen as normal at the time. And in this scene, Rose did what wasn't expected of women at the time and defended herself. In contrast to this, Rose also typifies the roles for women in the 1950s. Examples of this are when Gabe says I'm ready for my sandwich, Rose.(P.49) and she follows his demanding request and does as he says. In this time the roles of women were like tools used for lust, love, cooking, and cleaning. Rose in this example listens to him and makes him a sandwich without argument, as requested. That is how women were ideally expected to act in this time and Rose played host to that in this scene. These examples show how the women in Fences both defy and typify the roles of women in the 1950s and the attitude towards women during this time.
In Conclusion, even though Fences was written in 1983, It very well highlights issues faced by women in the 1950s. Even though August Wilson doesn't really give the women a second thought and mainly focuses on the men. They're constantly overlooked, hurt, and seen as unimportant. They were presented this way because of Wilson being a man and not fully understanding the women's issues, or, they were presented this way to further highlight the theme of sexism in the 1950s. The women in Fences also followed some of the roles that were set in place at that time but in contrast, also defied some roles at the same time. Fences May not have had sexism as the main theme, but it gives insight to the attitude towards women in Fences, and the attitude towards them in the 1950s.
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