The Role Of Dominance In August Wilson's Fences

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The obsession with dominance over others is a negative trait with terrible consequences. Troy Maxson, a father of two children and a friend of few, goes through his life, compulsed to assert his superiority over the people he knows. This leads to a downward trend with negative repercussions and eventually strips him of everything he ever loved. In Fences by August Wilson, Troy Maxson’s desire to be dominant with his two sons and his friend, Bono causes his life to be arduous, pushes his family away and creates a lack of sympathy. One method Troy employs to be dominant is by making people indebted to him. In the most literal example, Troy’s son, Lyons is known for asking for his father’s money and not returning it. In the play when Lyons wants to give back the money for the first time, Troy pushes …show more content…

In the movie version of Fences, the scene plays outs in a similar fashion until the end. Troy becomes animated and angry in the alternate version, symbolizing a less controlled personality. The movie displays stereotypical dominance, typically related to anger. However, the play portrays a greater sense of superiority in Troy because he does not only try to control other people, but is able to hold back his emotions as well. Troy’s greed for supremacy creates a struggle for his family to work and connect with him. Troy displays an even greater desire for dominance over his other son, Cory, because of tension and conflict between the characters. A central conflict in the plot of Fences is that Cory wants to play football professionally but his father will not let him. As Ama Wattley states in Father-Son Conflict and the American Dream, “due to racial discrimination… [Troy] directs his son away from the dream of success and toward the pragmatism of surviving and coping in a racist society” (Wattley 3). Troy’s emotional conflict against himself and society for not participating in major league baseball coupled with Cory’s possible success creates a strain on their

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