by August Wilson
Fences Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line)
Troy: "All right...Mr. Death....I'm gonna take and build me a fence around this yard. See? I'm gonna build me a fence around what belongs to me. And then I want you to stay on the other side. See? You stay over there until you're ready for me." (2.2.55)
When Alberta dies in childbirth, Troy feels Death has snuck up on him. He's determined to be ready next time and not to let it happen again. Of course, none of us ever really knows when death will come. Do you think Troy truly realizes this, or does he actually believe he can keep death at bay?
Troy: "Then you [Death] come on. Bring your army. Bring your sickle. Bring your wrestling clothes." (2.2.55)
Notice how Wilson brings back the image here of Troy wrestling with Death. We wonder if the play might be subtly referencing the Biblical story of Jacob, who actually wrestled with God. There are lots of Biblical references throughout Fences, so it would make sense that Wilson means for us think of Jacob here. In many ways Troy is like a figure from the Bible. He often seems to be wrestling with forces that are much larger than he is – Death being one of the strongest and most undefeatable.
Rose: "[Troy] swung that bat and then he just fell over. Seem like he swung it and stood there with this grin on his face...and then he just fell over." (2.5.74)
It looks like Troy finally lost his battle with Death. True to his word, he went out fighting, though. He died swinging his weapon of choice – a baseball bat. We wonder what the smile on his face was about. Did he perhaps find some bit of peace in his final moment on earth?