Study Guide

Fences Family

By August Wilson


Revolving around the trials and tribulations of the Maxson family, Fences is a great example of a family drama. We watch Troy struggle to fulfill his role as father to his son and husband to his wife. You could say that Troy doesn't do such a great job in either role; before his death, his family has all but disintegrated due of his failures. However, by the end of the play, we see that the family has also grown by his example. Fences depicts the complex dynamics that both tear families apart and hold them together.

Questions About Family

  1. How does Troy repeat the patterns of the family he grew up in? How does he escape them?
  2. Do you think Cory will repeat the same patterns with the family he is about to begin? Why, or why not?
  3. What is Rose's role in the family?

Chew on This

Fences is the story of a family's disintegration and rebirth.

The play uses a family as a microcosm to explore larger issues.