Character Analysis: Rose Maxson in “Fences”

949 words | 4 page(s)

The play “Fences” written by August Wilson, premiering in 1983, is a two act play which is set in the 1950s. The play tells the story of an African American former baseball star in the Negro Leagues who later becomes a garbage man, Troy Maxson, and his interaction with his family and those around him. Troy’s character believes that he should have had more in life due to his baseball talent; Troy was unable to play Major League baseball because of his race. Therefore, he was unable to make sufficient money to last him from playing baseball, regardless of his level of talent.

This has lead Troy to harbor resentment toward the fact that he is relegated to the life of a garbage truck driver. Troy is married to Rose Maxson, a very dutiful wife. Rose’s character is depicted as a loving housewife who seems to always cooking, cleaning, and supporting her husband. Rose, however, does seem to have gumption and does not let Troy mistreat her if she can help it. As the story progresses, the actions of Troy affect Rose’s character and how she is presented. Throughout this paper, I will do a character analysis of the character Rose Maxson from the play “Fences.”

puzzles puzzles
Your 20% discount here.

Use your promo and get a custom paper on
"Character Analysis: Rose Maxson in “Fences”".

Order Now
Promocode: custom20

At the start of the play, Rose Maxson is ten years younger than her husband Troy. The play gives some background about Rose’ character before she enters the first act. Rose is devoted to her husband Troy because of what she believes her life would be like without him. Rose has been exposed to a string of abusive men and the rough streets of the urban area. Rose makes her debut in the paly by walking outside and asking him what he and his friend are out their getting into. From Troy’s response to Rose, the viewers and readers immediately get a sense of Rose’s place in her household. Troy responds to the questioning of his wife Rose, “What you worried about what we getting onto for. This is men talk, woman.” (Act I, Scene I). Rose tries to dismiss the response of her husband by suggesting that she didn’t really care what they were talking about. This response suggests that Rose has a quick response to her husband’s treatment of her with less than the respect that she deserves but that she also endures the treatment. This becomes even more evident a few lines later when Troy makes suggestive comments to her with his friend still present outside. Rose tells him not to start that kind of talk, however, the readers and viewers get a sense that this is not the first time that Troy has said things like this to Rose in front of others. In addition, Rose is cooking for the men and seems to believe that her place as a woman is cooking for a man and taking care of a man the same as her husband does. The initial debut of the Rose character sets the tone for much of the play.

In the next scene, Rose is singing while hanging up the laundry. It is obvious from the song that she sings that she is a spiritual woman. Rose also believes a great deal in luck as she likes to play the lottery. In this scene Rose does assert herself when Troy’s brother Gabriel comes over for a visit. In addition, as Rose instructs Troy to finish building the fence she asked him to build, the viewers and readers gain an understanding of where the name of the play comes from. In fact, Rose was insistent on having the fence built. It is interesting that Wilson has Rose ask her husband Troy to build a fence when it is the proverbial fences that Troy constructs that as the play progresses that causes his relationship with Rose and others to deteriorate.

In the next scene, we are introduced to Rose’s son Cory as Rose informs him of his father’s dissatisfaction with him for not completing his chores. From this conversation the readers and viewers gain a sense that Troy has more control over their son than Rose does. This becomes even more apparent when Rose asks her husband why he will not let their son pursue college football. This suggests that Rose takes a secondary role in the parenting of their son as a caregiver but not a decision maker. In the conversation that ensures concerning this, Rose suggests that she does not believe her husband’s excuse that racism prevented him from playing in the Major Leagues and that it was in fact his age as a result of doing time in prison.

Rose stands up for herself by refusing to speak to her husband for six months after her informs her that he has gotten another woman pregnant. By this time Rose has already seen her husband try to deny their son his dream and put his brother in a mental facility against Roses’ wishes. By the end of the play, Rose proves that she can be a loving woman as well as stands up for herself to her husband. When he ask her to talk care of his baby by another woman, she states “I’ll take care of your baby for you…cause…she innocent…and you can’t visit the sins of the father upon the child. A motherless child had got a hard time….From right now this child got a mother. But you a womanless man” (Act II, Scene III). In later scenes in the play, it is evident that Rose kept her word and is raising the child as her own.

puzzles puzzles
Attract Only the Top Grades

Have a team of vetted experts take you to the top, with professionally written papers in every area of study.

Order Now