Contemporanity in Wilson's Fences

The fact that the play is set in 1957 and the generational conflict between Troy and Cory because of Cory's knowledge of the changes that have occurred favorably for the blacks and Troy's inability to accept the new changes, give the play a touch of contemporanity.

August Wilson (1945-2005)

The setting of the play in the recent American past helps us know the play dealing with themes and issues prevalent in contemporary American society. It was a time when the war had already been won and many changes had taken place in America. However, the loyalty and patriotism of blacks that had been seen as a fuel for winning the war had not been justly praised. The tenement life of blacks gives a picture of the life lived by the blacks in the land of opportunity. A study of the character of Cory helps us understand the contemporary issues raised in the play. Unlike the humiliating experiences of his father, Cory lives in a postwar America where many opportunities have opened up for the Blacks. In the past Troy didn't have the opportunity to play in the major league, but different is the case with Cory's time. He is given chances to play in the major games. He can be recruited for playing the games which his father couldn't. The conflict between him and his father is because of differing historical perceptions. Troy is unwilling to accept the new changes because he is confined to the perception that was an outcome of his living in a different time and period. At one point in the play, Rose tells him, "Times have changed since you were playing baseball, Troy. That was before the war." It makes clear that she is referring to the America of 1950s. Though many changes had taken place, blacks hadn't, however been able to experience democracy as defined by Lincoln. Things had changed for the better, but the winds of progress were not blowing fully and equally for the blacks.

Thus, the treatment of issues of the recent past in America with the setting in 1950s makes Wilson's Fences a play of contemporary time.

Fences Study Center

Rose as a Powerful Dramatic Character in Fences

The Agony of Father Son Relationship 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

Biography of August Wilson