How do fences protect?


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The overarching theme of the play, alluded to in the title, is the idea of the creation of order - a fence is not a barrier in this reading, but a way to compartmentalize the world into understandable, manageable chunks. Troy Maxson is chiefly responsible for this desire for order, though for a different reason his wife Rose also craves it. Troy is caught in a world in which he feels he does not belong. He carries with him the scars, oppression, and disorder of his Southern childhood, the abuse of his father, and an unwelcome Pittsburgh. On the other hand, he is also a part of the growing African American middle class. He is promoted for a job he feels he does not deserve and he is unable to accept the idea that his children might have the freedom to create their own lives. For Troy, a fence is a way to section off part of the world as his own - his desire for a fence is a desire to find his place in the time and culture of twentieth century America.