by August Wilson
Fences Men and Masculinity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line)
Troy: "[H]e was chasing me off so he could have the gal for himself....When I see what the matter was, I lost all fear of my daddy. Right there is where I become a man...at fourteen years of age....I picked up them reins and commenced to whupping on him." (1.4.113)
Here Troy tells the story of the day he left home. His father caught him making out with a neighbor girl instead of doing his work. He then tried to chase Troy off so he could have the thirteen-year-old girl for himself.
It seems pretty noble to us that Troy stood up to his father on this day. He must've known his dad was going to beat the crap out of him for it, yet still Troy saved the girl from his father's lecherous clutches. Notice, however, that to Troy, becoming a man was defined by violence. Specifically, it was defined by violence between father and son. This idea has tragic effects later on in the play.
Troy [speaking to Cory]: "You a man. Now let's see you act like one. Turn you behind around and walk out this yard. And when you get there in the alley...you can forget about this house." (2.4.75)
Troy thinks that Cory is old enough to take care of himself now. He kicks his son out into the world to fend for himself. To Troy, this is how a boy becomes a man – by making his own way in the world.
Troy: "You're gonna have to kill me! You wanna draw that bat on me. You're gonna have to kill me." (2.4.102)
In their final climactic battle, Cory picks up Troy's bat and threatens him with it. Troy stands up to his father but ultimately loses the fight. He then leaves home to make his own way in the world. Notice that this is the very same thing that happened to Troy. Also, notice that the weapon used here is a baseball bat. To us, this seems like a pretty obvious phallic (penis-like) symbol. It seems pretty appropriate in this manly battle for domination.