The next fence scene in the play involves Troy speaking and waring with Mr. Death. Troy spefifically said, I’m gonna take and build me a fence around this yard. See? I’m gonna build me a fence of what belongs to me (Wilson 2.2.41-42). After Troy’s mistress died from giving childbirth, he saw the mortality of his life and didn’t feel as invisible as he once did. Troy wants wrestle with death again as he claimed he when he was younger. Only this time Troy is not as confident he’ll win, and he wants the fence between him and Death as a barrier. When Mr. Death is ready, Troy wants him to cross the fence and knock on the door; because Troy will be ready for him as well. This self-dialogue shows Troy as vulnerable person who still fears when death comes around. After Troy’s wife agrees to take care of his mistress’s baby, he must had felt like he was low on blessings and saw his own mortality. Troy sees this fence as one of the last things on his defense against Mr. Death.
The next time the fence is mention in the play, it is already built. In the conversation between Troy and Bono it’s mentioned that in the off screen in between the months that each scene takes places the fence was built. After Bono leaves, Troy is left drinking by himself on the steps. Cory enters the scene and tells Troy, I got to get by (Wilson 2.4.51). Troy is immensely offended by this and is even more offended when Cory just tries to walk over him. This situation results in Troy and Cory getting into an argument specifically about Cory’s treatment of his father in their exchange. Throughout the narrative, Troy had gave Cory strikes like an umpire does in baseball.
Cory got his first strike when he confronted his father about getting him kicked off the football team then he got his second strike after his scuffle with his dad, and now Cory just got his third strike when he tried to step over and disrespect Troy. Cory and Troy begin their altercation that leads to a struggle for them trying to pry a baseball bat out of each other’s hand. The struggle ends with Troy taking the bat and standing over Cory prepared to swing, but Troy stops himself. Troy tells Cory to leave his house, and Cory says he’ll be back for his things; Troy says, They’ll be on the other side of that fence (Wilson 2.4.101). Throughout the play a barrier was being built between Troy and his son, and after the fence was built, the barrier between Troy and Cory was built as well. Troy’s last line to Cory shows that he’s made the divide for his son in his life, and Cory is now on the other side of the fence in Troy’s life.
In closing, Fences uses its tagline item as a literal object in the story, but as a representation of the characters’ relationships in the play as well. The choice of a fence for the barrier in the relationships is done purposely in this play. A wall is seen as something solid that is very difficult to break through, but a fence is usually transparent and not as difficult to get through. This distinction is made clear when in the ending all the characters reflect on Troy’s life as they prepare for his funeral.
Despite Troy being a deeply flawed individual who made major mistakes, his family still buried him with honor. Cory who had the hardest relationship with his father is able to have some closure with his father after speaking with his mother and sister. The fences people build to keep out and push away their loved ones are never strong enough to override the bond that families share.
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