The Namesake

The Apple and the Tree: Family Ties in The Namesake and Fences College

A man lives his life and evolves over time; he embodies a synthesis of all his experiences with those he meets over his lifetime. What he sees when he finally meets the son he helps bring into this world for the first time is unique to who he is and what he is. His thoughts are often of how he grew up and of the man his own father was; often he tells himself that this time it will be different and that he will be different than his own father. Nowhere are these complexities more apparent than in the lives of America-based fathers and sons who grow up in separate worlds - and all this within the shadow of the mainstream culture. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and Fences by August Wilson represent the growing pains of two very different families, but hold within the similar theme of the lasting, complex effects of relationships between fathers and sons.

Troy Maxson is the protagonist of the play Fences who is born a son to a freeman. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States…” (US Const. amend. XIII, 1865) The story sets him as a teenager in the early 1900’s; therefore, his father is at least the descendant of...

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