Human Relationships in The August Wilson Play

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People create fences in everyday life that either would have a positive effect or a negative effect, meaning keeping away from his or her enemies or keeping her loved ones within close distance. In Fences, by August Wilson, Rose builds three fences that separate and keeps people close to her. The fences that Rose builds around Bono, Cory, and Troy affect how she maintains or changes her relationship with them.

Rose builds her fence in her friendship with Bono to keep him inside it. Whenever Rose and Bono encounter each other, they treat each other with respect and courtesy. For example, when they encounter each other in the beginning, Rose offers Bono to stay over for dinner. Rose says “Bono, you gonna stay for supper”? Bono politely declines when he says, “No, I thank you Rose. But Lucille say she cooking up a pot of pigfeet”. Bono mentions that Rose wants Troy to build the fence because “Some people build fences to keep people out…and other people build fences to keep people in” (61). This shows why Rose wants to build the fence, but also let Bono know that Rose’s fence is built because she wants to keep Bono as one of people in the fence.

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Rose’s second fence is when she and Cory encounter each other towards the middle and end. They tend to have an affectionate mother-son moments, which happens when Cory returns from the marines for Troy’s funeral. At that moment when Cory arrives at his home, Rose, who is glad to see him back, says, “I’m glad you made it”. But when Cory says, “Mama…I got something to tell you…I’m not going to Papa’s funeral”, it makes Rose doubtful about why Cory cannot attend his own father’s funeral. Rose argues back that “You standing there all healthy and grown talking about you ain’t going to your daddy’s funeral” (96)? As a result of Cory saying that he cannot attend the funeral, Rose gets upset about this and lectures about how she had met Troy until she has lost touch with him once Raynell came into the house.

Rose’s final fence with Troy changes since the beginning of the play. Rose acts very faithful Troy in the beginning. She is cautious when Troy is drinking too much, “You gonna drink yourself to death. You don’t need to be drinking like that” (10). This mainly gives an idea that Rose really cares about Troy and how she loves him. But Rose gets feisty when Troy talks about when Alberta has the baby after Rose told him the news. Rose gets upset and says, “I am your wife. Don’t push me away”, because Troy is focused on Alberta instead of her. Seven years later, Troy passes away and Rose has some grief, but not too much because of Raynell coming into the house after she is born seven years ago. Rose’s fence with Troy shows that their relationship begins with affection but comes to a miserable end.

Building fences are what people would metaphorically do in life. Rose has three fences that she either keeps them close to her or wants to be far away from them as possible. Her relationships with Bono, Cory, and Troy show that her relationship with all three of them can have a positive effect or a negative effect on her life.

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Human Relationships in The August Wilson Play. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
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