Pygmalion: Fence and White Picket Fence Essay

Submitted By asLynnBer
Words: 826
Pages: 4

A Marriage on the Fence “Some people build fences to keep people out…and other people build fences to keep people in.” (Wilson, 1422) From Broadways and Tony Awards to the Pulitzer Prize-August Wilson is a Historical Dramatist like no other. In his play Fences, Wilson sets the average American Dream of a “white picket fence” into a Negro family during the late 1950s. Centered around the life of a man named Troy Maxson, the fence builder of the play struggles with all sides of the boundary his wife so desperately wants him to instill. Just as the characters relate to him, they each undergo their own understanding of this barrier and what it means in their life. Whether it be a mender, obstacle, enclosure, partition or barricade, the meaning behind the fence is built in their head way before the reality of the object is ever constructed. In the end, it’s the people and their relationships with each other that mend and the physicality of the fence is nothing more than just that, a fence. Rose is the main motivator behind the fence project. Just like her marriage to Troy the past eighteen years, everything is a fight to the finish with him. “You been running out of here every Saturday for weeks, I thought you was gonna work on this fence?” (1407) The fence represents the separation between the two of them and her desperate need to keep her family together within the boundaries. Bono is the only one who is able to explain to her own son and husband that she isn’t trying to keep anything out, “…Rose wants to hold on to you all. She loves you.” (1422) What she doesn’t realize is a fence can’t mend her marriage, and she doesn’t really find peace until both are done, Troy is dead and her family comes together again. To the children, the fence is nothing but a waste of time and a divider. Corey’s reality is on the other side of the fence while his fathers is on the inside. In Corey’s eyes the fence and his father are one in the same. They both keep him from reaching his goals as a professional athlete and what he really wants out of life. “Your first chore is to help me with this fence on Saturday. Everything else come after that. Now get that saw and cut them boards” (1408) After weeks of not working on the fence, Corey realizes that his father is using the fence project as a way to ruin his chances at pro football out o spite and jealousy-putting an even bigger divide between him and his father. The title not only represents the outer conflict in Troy’s life but the inner turmoil he has created for himself. “I’m responsible for it. I done locked myself into a pattern trying to take care of you all that I forgot about myself” (1426) I believe that isn’t just about his marriage on the fence, its about the locked pattern he can’t hurdle himself over. “Alright…Mr. Death. See now…I’m gonna build me a fence around what belongs to me. And then I want you to stay on the other side.” (1429)