In Fences, August Wilson uses the motif of baseball to at first develop Troy’s character, and then he uses it to relate to vital themes, relationships between characters, and conflicts throughout the play. Once the plot becomes more developed, Wilson uses the motif within Troy’s speech to allude to significant themes, such as the recurring theme of death. Secondly, in the duration of the play Troy uses metaphors about baseball when relating his relationships with other characters, for example, he compares the relationship him and Rose share to a simple baseball game.
Finally, Troy applies baseball to the conflict between him and his son by regarding Cory’s every move as just another baseball play. After Troy was pushed out of the major leagues, the only way he could cope with his broken dream was by comparing baseball to his everyday life as if he was still playing the game. To start off, Troy follows through with the motif of baseball in one of his opening lines when he states, “Death ain’t nothing but a fastball on the outside corner” (15).
In this passage Troy compares death to an easy pitch, which shows the audience that Troy believes himself to be an invincible man when staring into the eyes of his own fate.
This is not only an insight on Troy’s qualities, but also serves as foreshadowing of future events. In addition to that, the play ends with an almost literal meaning of the metaphor. Troy was just taking a few easy swings when death decided to hit him in the form of a heart attack. The motif of baseball both started the play with character development of Troy, and then ended it with the death of him.
Secondly, the motif of baseball appears again to show Troy’s feelings towards his marriage with Rose and towards his affair. Troy explained that since he has been married, he has been stuck on first base in the same boring place, but when Alberta came along “[he] got to thinking that if [he] tried … [he] might just be able to steal second” (67). In this quote, Troy asserts that he wanted the thrill of being in an unfamiliar, new, and exciting surrounding, which he would experience with Alberta.The passage is stating that Troy was ready to move on, but at the same time it shows he is stuck in the past because of the fact that he cannot leave his baseball past behind him.
Finally, baseball appears once more in Troy’s lines when Cory confronts his father with the desire to play football. In this process, Cory also admits that he had to quit his job so he could play. Troy strongly disapproves of Cory’s decision and believes he made a huge mistake. Troy followed up his own argument by saying, “You swung and you missed.
That’s strike one. Don’t you strike out! ” (56).In this passage, Troy is referring to Cory’s fault as a strike just as in the game of baseball. In the continuation of the play, Troy called strike two on Cory once they had their first brawl, and strike three is given to him not too soon after.
In Troy’s eyes Cory had struck out, and instead of returning to the dugout, he was kicked out of his home. In conclusion, Troy’s dreams of playing baseball had shattered, but he still managed to approach life as if his identity never changed. He visited his past through recurring metaphors about baseball and related many aspects of his life to his unforgettable career.
Cite this Baseball Motif in Fences
Baseball Motif in Fences. (2017, Apr 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/baseball-motif-in-fences/