The Agony of Father Son Relationship in Fences

August Wilson's play Fences is basically about the conflict between father and son and the tension is created due to generational gap. The father fails to see life from his son's perspective in a changed world, neither can they easily grasp his father's perception of society.

August Wilson (1945-2005)

The agony in their relation is not due to personal problems, but it has to do a lot with larger socio-cultural issues at the heart of which lies the age long practice of racial discrimination practiced by whites against the black population of America.

During his youth, Troy Maxson was not allowed to play in important games. Though he was a good baseball player he couldn't play in major games primarily because he was black and the whites got the upper hand in everything. It affected him a lot psychologically and he internalized the evil practices of racism. He felt that black would never get the chances that the whites are enjoying. On the contrary, his son is living in an age in which many things have changed favorably for the blacks. Blacks are also chosen for playing in the major leagues. He wants for himself a career in the sports. His father can't reconcile himself with the idea of allowing his son to go for that career. The father cannot see beyond his experiences and knowledge. This angers the son and is against the father. Though Troy has experienced the change in his own life he cannot yet accept it. They fight with each other. The father strikes his son and sends him away from home. The son too is not respectful to his father and so much so that he is not even willing to attend his father's funeral. It is agonizing and shocking to see such a relation exist between father and son.

Therefore, the inability to understand each other and the visible and the implicit tension between son and father is very disturbing. To find an answer to this problem we should go beyond individual problems to larger social questions. Neither the son nor the father bothers to see things from another's perspective. The deep rootedness of injustice and inequality has made the father behave like that and the son too is tied to his own age specific perception. Racism is at the core of it all.

Fences Study Center

Rose as a Powerful Dramatic Character in Fences

Position of Blacks as Depicted in Wilson's Fences

Fences Study Center

Introduction of Wilson's Fences

Summary of Wilson's Fences

Symbols in Wilson's Fences

Contemporanity in Wilson's Fences

Biography of August Wilson