Uploaded on


  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads


Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds



Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

    No notes for slide


  • 1. August Wilson’s “Fences”
  • 2. The Playwright: August Wilson • Born in Pittsburgh, PA • Father was white o Never lived with his family • Mother was African- American • Random fact: he flunked out of 9th grade and worked basic, unskilled jobs from the age of 16 on. Received his education from libraries other public places.
  • 3. The Playwright: August Wilson • 1960s-70s o Involved in civil rights movement • Described himself as a black nationalist, advocating to separate from the whites and to create of self-governing black communities
  • 4. The Playwright: August Wilson • Began writing plays in Pittsburgh • Founded and directed the Black Horizon Theatre Company in Pittsburgh in a predominantly black neighborhood called “the Hill”
  • 5. The Pittsburg Cycle 1900s - Gem of the Ocean (2003) 1910s - Joe Turner's Come and Gone (1988) 1920s - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (1984) (Chicago) 1930s - The Piano Lesson (1990) * 1940s - Seven Guitars (1995) 1950s - Fences (1987) * 1960s - Two Trains Running (1991) 1970s - Jitney (1982) 1980s - King Hedley II (1999) 1990s - Radio Golf (2005) • A series of ten plays, nine of which are set in the Hill District • Each set in a different decade • All designed to represent that African American people’s existence in the US during the 20th century. * Pulitzer Prize winning play
  • 6. Wilson’s Purpose • “did not write plays with specific political agendas, but he did believe art could subtly effect social change and while his essential aim was to evoke and ennoble the collective African-American experience, he also believed his work could help rewrite some of those rules” (Isherwood).
  • 7. Applying this to “Fences” • “’I think my plays offer a different way to look at black Americans,’ [Wilson] told The Paris Review. ‘For instance, in “Fences” they see a garbage man, a person they don’t really look at, although they see [garbage men every week]. By looking at Troy’s life, white people find out that the content of this black garbageman’s life is affected by the same things – love, honor, beauty, betrayal, duty. Recognizing that these things are as much a part of his life as theirs can affect how they think about and deal with black people in their lives” (Isherwood).
  • 8. Fences • Presents a slice of life in a black tenement in Pittsburgh • Set in the late 1950s through 1965
  • 9. America in 1957 • January 23 - Ku Klux Klan members force truck driver Willie Edwards to jump off a bridge into the Alabama River - he drowns as a result. • September 4 - American Civil Rights Movement: Little Rock Crisis- Orville Faubus, governor of Arkansas, calls out the US National Guard to prevent black students from enrolling in Central High School in Little Rock.] • October 4 – Russian launches Sputnik I into orbit. • November 7 - Cold War: In the United States, the Gaither Report calls for more American missiles and fallout shelters.
  • 10. Fences & Troy Maxson • The main character, Troy Maxson, is a garbage collector who has taken great pride in keeping his family together and providing for them. • Troy's rebellion and frustration set the tone for the play as he struggles for fairness in a society which seems to offer none.
  • 11. Fences & Troy Maxson • In his struggle he builds fences between himself and family. • Troy also wrestles with the idea of death and claims that he sees death as nothing but a fastball, something he can handle. • The baseball metaphor is used in relation to death and throughout the play.
  • 12. Works Cited • Isherwood, Charles. "August Wilson, Theater's Poet Of Black America, Is Dead at 60." The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 Oct. 2005. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/03/theater/new sandfeatures/03wilson.html?pagewanted=print&_r= 0>.