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Death and Fences

  • Date Submitted: 06/22/2011 04:02 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 64.9 
  • Words: 1173
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Salesman, is never respected for his occupational status, so he places very high expectations on his son, Biff. Willy lives in the memory of past events to such a large extent that he cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, and he passes this trait onto Biff. Biff says, "How the hell did I ever get the idea I was a salesman there? I even believed myself that I'd been a salesman for him!...We've been talking in a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk" (1760). Willy's high demands of Biff cause Biff to experience the same difficulties of living in the present and the desire to live in a fantasy world. This conflict is only resolved in Biff's mind when he releases himself from his father's dominance and establishes his own identity. At his father's funeral, Biff has compassion for his father and remembers that "there were a lot of nice days;" his father did have good intentions but "had the wrong dreams" (1778). He realizes the futility of trying to live up to his father's unrealistic expectations, and Cory has the same realization in Fences.
Cory tells his father, Troy, "You ain't never gave me nothing! You ain't never done nothing but hold me back. Afraid I was gonna be better than you. All you ever did was try and make me scared of you" (1913). Although Cory is a skilled baseball player, Troy always discourages him from playing professionally. Troy is never given the chance to play because he is black, but athletics is a field that is fully open to blacks later, when Cory is ready to play. His father is unable to recognize this fact because he always lives in the memory of past events; he pressures Cory to be much better than all the white baseball players. This conflict is never really resolved because even at his father's funeral, Cory feels much resentment towards his father and almost does not attend the funeral. He has not yet separated himself from his father's dominance and is just beginning to "find a way to get rid of that shadow" (1918)....


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