Fences

by: August Wilson

Motifs

Wilson's plays are extensions of the history of blues in African American culture, and thus, in American culture in general. Troy sings two blues songs, one, in Act Two, scene three, "Please Mr. Engineer let a man ride the line," and in Act Two, scene four, "Hear it Ring! Hear it Ring!" Rose also sings a song in Act One, scene two, "Jesus be a fence all around me every day." Wilson invented these lyrics but based them on themes and symbols in African American traditional, spiritual, gospel, and blues songs. Rose's song is a religious song so hers might have more roots in the gospel tradition. Troy's songs are truly from the blues tradition. His song, "Hear it Ring Hear it Ring!" was passed on to him by his father and in the last scene of the play, we witness Cory and Raynell singing the song together after Troy's death. The blues in Fences connects generations together and keeps alive a family's roots and history beyond the grave.