Why did Wilson write this play? What was the message that he was trying to give the audience?


What was the point of this play?




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Fences has been deemed a "generational play" by critics and academics for its depiction of three generations of African-American men -- Troy Maxson, Troy's father, and Troy's son. It depicts an archetypal struggle between fathers and sons, themes that have proved pertinent across racial and generational divides.

Fences is unique among Wilson's plays in that it adheres more strictly to the classical tragedy structure than his other works. Wilson often objected to such structure in his plays, yet Fencesultimately embraces the orderly flow of beginning, rising action, climax, and falling action. Wilson's play also features a clear protagonist, Troy Maxson, with whom the audience can identify, suffer, and become redeemed.

Though written in the 1980's, the play deals with African-American life in the post-World War II era. Troy is a product of this time, continually caught between the African-American oppression of his Southern childhood and his Northern adopted home, and his changing world - a world in which African-Americans were joining the middle class, securing better jobs, and seeing their children gain opportunities, such as college and sports careers, that previous generations never had. Troy represents an entire generation, unsatisfied with the legacy of racism that they bore and uncomfortable in their slow social ascent.