by August Wilson
Fences Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line)
Troy: "Death ain't nothing but a fastball on the outside corner." (1.1.82)
Troy says that "a fastball on the outside corner" was a pitch he could easily knock out of the park back in his heyday. So when he makes the statement above, he's saying that he's not afraid of death. He brags that he conquered death once when he had pneumonia, and he can easily do it again.
Troy: "Ain't nothing wrong with talking about death. That's part of life. Everybody gonna die. You gonna die, I'm gonna die. Bono's gonna die. Hell, we all gonna die." (1.1.88)
Here Troy shows a pretty practical view of death. Even though earlier on he was bragging that he beat Death up, he's not so deluded that he thinks he's immortal. Troy realizes that he and everybody else's time on Earth is limited.
Troy: "Death stood up, throwed on his robe...had him a white robe with a hood on it." (1.1.96)
Typically the figure of Death is depicted as wearing a black robe, but here it's white. Is this just a random fashion choice? Were black robes just not in for supernatural beings the year Troy wrestled with Death?
We're guessing there's a larger significance, since black-white racial issues are such a big deal in the play. It could be seen as a deliberate rejection of the idea that the color black should symbolize death. Some might see it as offensive that the same color often used to represent death (as well as evil) is also used to describe African Americans.
Death's white robes and hood might also be seen as representing the Ku Klux Klan, the white supremacist group responsible for so many hate crimes in the American South. The typical uniform for KKK members was (and still is) white robes and hoods. Perhaps by equating Death with the Klan, the play is referencing the many African Americans who lost their lives (literally and metaphorically) to white oppression.