Study Guide

Fences Men and Masculinity

By August Wilson

Men and Masculinity

Fences is often thought of as a father-son play. The main conflict centers around the tension between Troy Maxson and his son Cory. The play shows how Troy in many ways repeats the mistakes of his own father while raising Cory. By the end, we're left with the hope that Cory will be able to break the cycle. Fences also questions what it is to be a man. Throughout the play we are forced to ask what it takes to be a good man. Is it duty to your family? Is it following your heart? Check out "Quotes" and see what you take from the play.

Questions About Men and Masculinity

  1. In Troy's mind, what makes a man?
  2. In what ways can Fences be seen as a father-son play?
  3. How do Troy's and Lyons's opinions of what make a man differ? How are they similar?
  4. Would Troy be proud of the man Cory has become by the end of the play? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Troy's idea of manhood is based on the harsh example set by his father.

By the end of Fences, Cory is on the road to becoming his own man by taking the best of his father and leaving the negative qualities behind him.