The Great Gatsby

In pursuit of personal fulfilment, people often struggle with the balance between hope and action, truthfulness and deceit and reason and impulse. Benjamin Franklin impacted wisdom through his maxims in “The Way to Wealth“, which guides people when navigating life’s complexities. In the first maxim, “He that lives upon hope will die fasting,” Franklin cautions people against relying solely on hope without action (Franklin, 2006). He encourages people to balance between optimism and action. In the second maxim, “The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt,” he emphasizes the importance of telling the truth. He argues that running into debt may be dangerous, but deceit carries greater moral weight over debt. In the third maxim, “If you will not hear reason, she’ll surely rap your knuckles,” Franklin emphasizes the importance of reason and critical thinking in decision-making. He suggests that ignoring reasons can lead to unfavorable outcomes. In The Great Gatsby, the characters of Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan and Nick Carraway reflect upon Franklin’s maxims. Daisy Buchanan is a beautiful socialite married to Tom Buchanan, a wealthy and arrogant man (Anushirvani & Alinezhadi, 2016). Lastly, Nick Caraway is the story narrator who observes the lives and actions of those around him. Therefore, this essay will elaborate on the three maxims from Franklin’s “The Way to Wealth”, which include “He that lives upon hope will die fasting,” “The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt,” and “If you will not hear reason, she’ll surely rap your knuckles.

Daisy Buchanan embodies the maxim that “He that lives upon hope will die fasting” through her reluctance to take action to achieve his desires. She is portrayed as a dreamer who yearns for a better life. For instance, she is dissatisfied with her marriage and the confining nature of her society (Roberts, 2006). However, she fails to take action, remaining trapped in her unhappy marriage. She waits for her life to change on its own. This reliance on hope alone leads to her downfall resulting in unfulfilled dreams and missed opportunities. In the film, Daisy says, “I wanted my life shaped now, immediately—and the decision must be made by some force—of love, of money, of unquestionable practicality—that was close at hand” (Anushirvani & Alinezhadi, 2016) This quote shows her desire for instant gratification and reliance on hope alone. Daisy’s failure to take action results in a life of disappointment and unfulfilled potential, serving as a cautionary example to viewers of the importance of balancing hope with action. Therefore, she indicates the need to seize opportunities and actively shape our destinies rather than solely relying on hope.

Secondly, Tom Buchanan embodies the maxim that “The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt” through his habitual lying and reckless approach to finances. Tom is constantly portrayed as a liar, manipulating people and situations to serve his interest. For instance, he engages in extramarital affairs, betraying his wife Daisy with other women such as Myrtle Wilson. His dishonesty is also evident in his financial affairs. In one instance, he says, “I’ve got my man out West to sell the car. He can’t get a penny out of it. It’s all gone. … I haven’t got a cent left, but I’ve got many debts” (Anushirvani & Alinezhadi, 2016). This quote exposes his lies about his financial position, trying to conceal his financial troubles. Tom shows the effect of lying and irresponsible financial behavior, which destroys the trust in his family and exacerbates his financial challenges. Therefore, The Great Gatsby uses Tom to enlighten the people on the dangers of dishonesty and financial irresponsibility. Tom’s embodiment of this maxim shows the importance of truthfulness and prudent financial management.

Lastly, Nick Carraway embodies the Maxim “If you will not hear reason, she’ll surely rap your knuckles” through his commitment to rational behavior amid irrational characters. He acts as a voice of reason, evading the moral corruption that permeates his society. His adherence to reason is evident in his unwavering desire to understand others. He states, “I’m inclined to reserve all judgments,” demonstrating his desire to understand those around him (Roberts, 2006). By reserving judgment, Nick shows his willingness to accommodate the perspectives of others. As a result, Nick’s rational behavior allows him to navigate the world’s complexities with clarity in The Great Gatsby. While others engage in corrupt behaviors, Nick maintains good conduct as a moral compass in the film. Therefore, Nick presents a contrasting figure to the moral decay prevalent in his society (Reinert, 2015). His commitment to reason serves as a guiding principle, allowing him to maintain integrity. Nick’s character helps the film highlight the importance of rational thinking, the dangers of abandoning reason and the power of critical thinking.

In conclusion, the maxims from Benjamin Franklin’s “The Way to Wealth” serves as a guiding principle to navigate the complexities of life. Characters in “The Great Gatsby“, such as Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan and Nick Carraway, embody this maxim, showing the importance of balance, truthfulness and reason. Daisy embodies the maxim “He that lives upon hope will die fasting“, highlighting the need to balance hope and action. Her passive approach to life leads to unfulfilled dreams and missed opportunities. Additionally, Tom exemplifies the maxim “The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt” through his lying behaviour. His deceitful nature destroys the trust in his family and increases his financial troubles. Lastly, Nick reflects on the maxim “If you will not hear reason, she’ll surely rap your knuckles” through his rational behavior amidst corrupt characters. He is a voice of reason, maintaining a moral perspective in a corrupt society. Therefore, “The Great Gatsby” highlights the importance of balance, truthfulness and reason in pursuing personal fulfilment. The film offers valuable insights into the consequences of relying solely on hope, the dangers of deceit, and the power of critical thinking. These lessons resonate with audiences, reminding us of the wisdom in Franklin’s teachings.


Anushirvani, A., & Alinezhadi, E. (2016). An analytical study of the 2013 cinematic adaptation of The great gatsby. International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences68, 73-85.

Franklin, B. (2006). The Way to Wealth and other writings on finance. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.

Reinert, S. A. (2015). The Way to wealth around the World: Benjamin Franklin and the Globalization of American Capitalism. The American Historical Review120(1), 61-97.

Roberts, M. (2006). Scarface, the Great Gatsby, and the American Dream. Literature/Film Quarterly34(1), 71.

The Indigenous Maya People Of Guatemala


The indigenous Maya people of Guatemala have a long and complicated history that is deeply entangled with the effects of colonization. The social, economic, and political conditions of the Maya people have been deteriorating for generations (Gudynas, pg. 48). The introduction of European powers during colonization dramatically impacted the Maya and their customary way of life. Because the dominant colonial authorities imposed their cultural norms, institutions, and administration systems, the Maya people were marginalized and oppressed.

The Maya people are still dealing with the aftereffects of colonization today. They are routinely shut out of crucial political decision-making processes and face other obstacles to full political participation (Hale, pg. 102). They are socially marginalized because they are subject to prejudice, sexism, and other forms of bigotry. Because of persistent poverty and inequality, the Maya people’s economic situation is often hampered by a lack of access to resources, land, and financial possibilities.

This article examines the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples about the Maya people of Guatemala (Lenzerini, pg. 57). We can determine if these international declarations have sufficiently addressed the rights and interests of the Maya people by looking at their historical context, contemporary political, social, and economic situation, and contacts with colonization (Foster). We will analyze the effectiveness of the UDHR and the UNDRIP in safeguarding the rights of the Maya people by examining individual provisions, their implementation, and real-world examples.

Finally, this research will add to the ongoing discussion about indigenous rights and illuminate alternative routes for the Maya and other communities experiencing comparable difficulties. We may work toward a more just and fair society that recognizes and protects all people’s rights, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or socioeconomic status, by addressing the problems and offering solutions (Harbor, pg. 220).

Case Study: The Maya of Guatemala

The Maya people of Guatemala have a long and illustrious history that extends back to a time long before the introduction of colonial forces (Obrist-Farner). The Maya had a civilization that dated back thousands of years; throughout that time, they developed sophisticated agricultural techniques, created impressive cities, and made significant contributions to art, architecture, and mathematics (Thiel, pg. 16). Despite this, their interactions with colonial powers, particularly during the period in which they were colonized, had a long-lasting effect on the political, social, and economic circumstances in which they found themselves.

At the beginning of the 16th century, Spanish colonizers established their dominance over Guatemala’s indigenous populations, including the Maya people (Castanet, pg. 283). This took place during the time of colonization. Because the Spanish intended to impose their language, religion, and institutions on the indigenous peoples they conquered in the New World, Maya culture underwent profound shifts due to the conquest. The Maya was exploited economically, their culture was suppressed, and they were forced to work in harsh conditions (Einbinder, pg. 135). Many Maya settlements were uprooted, and the conventional administrative hierarchies that supported them were destroyed.

The political situation of the Maya population in Guatemala is still somewhat complicated in the modern day (Halperin, pg. 56). Even if there are now some Maya people in positions of political power and representation, the political landscape still has room for improvement. Despite their widespread presence, the Maya continue to be underrepresented and marginalized within governmental institutions. Their views and concerns are frequently ignored, and their traditional modes of government need to be recognized and incorporated into the larger political structure (Thiel, pg. 16). This is a problem for many indigenous peoples.

The Maya people of Guatemala continue to face social prejudice and discrimination because of their ethnicity (Gudynas, pg. 440). They continue to be subjected to unfavorable stereotypes and cultural stigmatization, which contributes to the marginalization they experience within Guatemalan society. Access to education, healthcare, and other fundamental services continues to be restricted in many Maya communities, exacerbating existing socioeconomic disparities and making upward social mobility more difficult (Hale, pg. 103).

The Maya people face substantial inequalities and difficulties regarding the state of the economy (Lenzerini, pg. 60). A significant number of Maya people are poor because they have inadequate access to economic opportunities and resources. Traditional Maya regions have been vulnerable to land encroachments and confrontations with external entities, including large-scale agricultural corporations and extractive industries (Foster). Land rights and ownership remain a critical regional issues.

Even though the Maya people have made significant headway in reclaiming their cultural legacy and expressing their rights, they are still dealing with the aftereffects of colonization (Harbor, pg. 216). They struggle to overcome the political, social, and economic disadvantages that are the legacies of historical injustices committed against them. Despite initiatives aimed at cultural revitalization and empowerment, the Maya have yet to become the dominant group in Guatemalan culture (Obrist-Farner). This is even though there have been such efforts. The continued existence of structural hurdles and systemic discrimination hinders these individuals’ full inclusion and equal involvement.

Analysis/Critique of UDHR about Indigenous Peoples

Humanity’s cornerstone text, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), guarantees everyone the same basic protections and liberties (Thiel, pg. 23). However, when applied to this specific demographic, its benefits, and limits in defending the rights of the Maya people of Guatemala become clear. Rights to life, liberty, and security of the person; freedom of opinion, conscience, and religion; and the ability to participate in cultural life are all included in the UDHR and are essential to the Maya (Castanet, pg. 283). These safeguards should protect the Maya’s cultural identity, land rights, and traditional customs.

However, it is evident from the plight of the Maya people in Guatemala that the UDHR’s guarantees are not being wholly implemented there. Many Maya, for instance, have had their right to life and security of persons violated because of their indigenous status and their resistance to a land invasion (Einbinder, pg. 145). This has resulted in violence, forced relocation, and targeted attacks. Many Maya groups have suffered religious persecution and cultural suppression during and after colonization, violating their right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. The cultural and spiritual rights of the Maya people have been weakened by the marginalization and, in some instances, criminalization of traditional spiritual activities (Halperin, pg. 56).

The Maya population case study in Guatemala further illustrates the limits of the UDHR (Hale, pg. 106). The Maya people have been subjected to discrimination, marginalization, and socioeconomic inequities for a long time, proving that the UDHR’s provisions are insufficient to safeguard their rights on their own. Barriers to education, healthcare, and economic possibilities for the Maya population persist, maintaining structural inequality (Gudynas, pg. 67).

The UDHR’s universality is one of its greatest assets since it provides a blueprint for the worldwide defense of human rights (Lenzerini, pg. 54). It provides a shared language and an ethical and legal basis for advocacy and mobilization. Its shortcomings become clear, however, when considering the rights and demands of indigenous peoples such as the Maya.

The universality of the UDHR makes it susceptible to generalizations that may fail to grasp the specific historical, cultural, and contextual difficulties experienced by indigenous peoples (Foster). The UDHR’s potential to solve the structural problems encountered by indigenous communities is diminished by its need to express acknowledgment of collective rights and self-determination.

Analysis/Critique of UNDRIP about Indigenous Peoples

The Maya people of Guatemala benefit significantly from the international protections afforded by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) (Obrist-Farner). Understanding the UNDRIP’s strengths and weaknesses in protecting the Maya people’s rights can be gained by examining the individual sections that pertain to their situation.

The Maya value Article 8 of the UNDRIP, which protects the right to self-determination (Halperin, pg. 56). It acknowledges their inherent dignity and the freedom to pursue their political, economic, social, and cultural goals while preserving and strengthening their institutions. The purposes of this article are consistent with those of the Maya people of Guatemala, who seek to protect their history, restore their ancient forms of government, and reassert control over their homeland (Einbinder, pg. 149).

Article 11 similarly emphasizes indigenous peoples’ entitlement to preserve and renew their traditional heritage (Thiel, pg. 32). The Maya have been historically disadvantaged and oppressed; therefore, this clause is essential to maintaining their language, spirituality, customary laws, and traditional knowledge systems (Harbor, pg. 221). The UNDRIP backs the Maya people in their efforts to reassert their cultural identity and protect their traditions.

The case study of the Maya population in Guatemala and other research pieces further demonstrates the UNDRIP’s importance (Lenzerini, pg. 55). Large-scale agriculture and extractive industries have caused land conflicts among the Maya, leading to population displacement and environmental devastation. The UNDRIP establishes guidelines for dealing with these problems and safeguarding the Maya’s property rights (Gudynas, pg. 432).

The UNDRIP has some significant provisions, but it also has some serious flaws when it comes to protecting the rights of the Maya people (Einbinder, pg. 148). The lack of state commitments that can be enforced is a problem. Since the UNDRIP is not a legally binding treaty, its power to ensure compliance and accountability is limited. It leaves the possibility for continuous breaches of the rights of indigenous peoples if states choose to ignore or selectively execute its provisions.

The UNDRIP sometimes overlooks collective rights and indigenous people’s ability to determine their future because of its emphasis on individual rights (Castanet, pg. 283). The Maya people have rights to culture, territory, and government that the individualistic UNDRIP may not be able to protect fully.

In sum, the Maya people of Guatemala benefit from the UNDRIP’s articles since they affirm their right to self-determination, cultural preservation, and land stewardship (Halperin, pg. 56). However, its shortcomings must be recognized, including its nonbinding character, implementation difficulties, and focus on the person. Greater emphasis on collective rights, more robust accountability systems, and enhanced national-level implementation strategies are required to properly defend the rights of the Maya people and other indigenous communities (Lenzerini, pg. 61).

Recommendations for Rights Protection

Legal, social, and political measures at the local, national, and international levels are needed to achieve complete rights protection for the Maya community in Guatemala and other similar indigenous populations (Obrist-Farner).

Prioritizing the empowerment and active engagement of indigenous communities in decision-making processes that directly touch their lives is crucial at the local level (Harbor, pg. 225). The acknowledgment of traditional governance systems and the backing of community-led initiatives are two ways to accomplish this. Indigenous peoples’ spokespeople and specialists in customary law should be included in creating local procedures for resolving land conflicts and guaranteeing fair resource access (Einbinder, pg. 156).

Legal reforms at the national level are required to conform existing laws with international norms such as the UNDRIP. Land rights, self-determination, and cultural traditions are just a few of the many requests of Indigenous peoples that should be protected by law (Thiel, pg. 33). Designated authorities should monitor Indigenous peoples’ rights and address complaints through appropriate channels. Projects that help indigenous communities prosper economically and socially must be supported with sufficient resources and money.

Governments, indigenous people, and international organizations need to work together on a global scale. Governments should discuss openly with indigenous leaders to gain their perspectives and collaborate on policymaking (Hale, pg. 120). The United Nations and other international organizations can help indigenous peoples realize their rights by providing resources, training, and other forms of support. To promote accountability and international solidarity, it is also crucial to strengthen international institutions to monitor and report abuses of indigenous rights (Obrist-Farner).

Socially, it is essential to conduct awareness and education initiatives to counteract prejudice and increase respect for indigenous peoples’ cultural practices and legal protections (Harbor, pg. 232). A more accepting and respectful society can result from concerted efforts to dismantle harmful preconceptions and prejudices. Educational systems should include indigenous history, languages, and cultural knowledge to equip indigenous youth better and encourage intercultural interaction.

A comprehensive and cooperative strategy is required if the Maya and other indigenous peoples are to have their rights protected meaningfully (Foster). Governments, indigenous communities, C.S.O.s, and international actors all need to be involved and committed for this to succeed. Legal reforms, social inclusion, and political engagement can achieve justice, equity, and empowerment for indigenous peoples.


In conclusion, this paper has investigated how well the UDHR and the UNDRIP have protected the rights of the Maya people in Guatemala. This country has been afflicted by colonization and continues to face difficulties.

The right to life, liberty, and cultural involvement are all protected under the UDHR, but the study shows that these rights have only limited application for the Maya. The persistence of discrimination, marginalization, and socioeconomic inequities against the Maya community indicates the necessity for targeted interventions considering the group’s distinct history and culture.

Similar to the analysis of the UNDRIP, the Maya people’s ability to exercise their collective rights and self-determination was underlined. Despite this, it’s essential to recognize the limits, such as the document’s non-binding nature, implementation difficulties, and emphasis on the person. To successfully protect the rights of the Maya people, it is vital to strengthen accountability systems, enhance national-level implementation strategies, and focus more on collective rights.

Significant progress may be made in preserving the rights of the Maya community by strengthening legal frameworks, enhancing education and awareness, enabling sustainable economic growth, and promoting intercultural communication. The Maya people’s cultural legacy and identity are being celebrated through these endeavors, and the rights of all indigenous peoples are being protected and defended in the process.

Works Cited

Castanet, Cyril, et al. “Multi-millennial human impacts and climate change during the Maya early Anthropocene: implications on hydro-sedimentary dynamics and socio-environmental trajectories (Naachtun, Guatemala).” Quaternary Science Reviews 283 (2022): 107458.

Einbinder, Nathan, and Helda Morales. “Development from within agroecology and the quest for still asleep in the Maya-Achí territory of Guatemala.” Journal of Latin American Geography 19.3 (2020): 133-158.

Foster, Lynn V. Handbook to Life in the Ancient Maya World, 2005. Oxford University Press, U.S.A.,2005,

Gudynas, Eduardo. “Buen Vivir: Today’s Tomorrow.” Development, vol. 54, no. 4, Dec. 2011, pp. 441–47.,

Hale, Charles R. “Activist Research v. Cultural Critique: Indigenous Land Rights and the Contradictions of Politically Engaged Anthropology.” Cultural Anthropology, vol. 21, no.1, Feb. 2006, pp. 96–120.

Halperin, Christina T., Jean-Baptiste Le Moine, and Enrique Pérez Zambrano. “Infrastructures of moving water at the Maya site of Ucanal, Petén, Guatemala.” Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 56 (2019): 101102.

Harbor, Lucy C., and Carter A. Hunt. “Indigenous tourism and cultural justice in a Tz’utujil Maya community, Guatemala.” Journal of Sustainable Tourism 29.2-3 (2021): 214-233.

Lenzerini, Federico. “Implementation of the UNDRIP around the World: Achievements and Future Perspectives. The Outcome of the Work of the ILA Committee on the Implementation of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” The International Journal of Human Rights, vol. 23, no. 1–2, Feb.2019, pp.51–62,

Obrist-Farner, Jonathan, and Prudence M. Rice. “Nixtun-Ch’ich’and its environmental impact: Sedimentological and archaeological correlates in a core from Lake Petén Itzá in the southern Maya lowlands, Guatemala.” Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 26 (2019): 101868.

Thiel, Amanda M., and Marsha B. Quinlan. “Homegarden Variation and Medicinal Plant Sharing among the Q’eqchi’Maya of Guatemala.” Economic Botany 76.1 (2022): 16-33.

Understanding The Themes In August Wilson’s Fences: Navigating Dreams And Struggles


August Wilson’s drama “Fences” examines social expectations, goals, and relationships. Troy Maxson and his family are portrayed in a drama set in 1950s Pittsburgh as they battle with obligations to their family, prejudice, and the American Dream. Through rich characterization and impactful dialogue, Wilson paints a vivid picture of African Americans coping with societal change and inequity. This essay will critically evaluate a central idea or literary device from “Fences,” exploring its literary and historical context and applicability to current concerns. In order to understand why “Fences” has had such a profound effect on its audience and society, this study will look at the film’s many facets.

Thesis Statement:

The complexity of familial relationships and the continued effects of racism on the characters’ lives are eloquently captured by August Wilson in “Fences,” highlighting the obstacles that must be overcome to achieve their goals.

The Interplay of Family Dynamics

The effects of familial relationships are the main topic of “Fences.” His choices affect Troy Maxson’s family. Wilson expertly illustrates the impact Troy’s actions have on his wife Rose, his boys Cory and Lyons, and even his best friend Bono (Bigsby). Troy and his son Cory’s argument symbolizes their generational gap and opposing objectives. Even though Cory wants to pursue a scholarship to play college football, Troy wants to manage him. Wilson stresses the challenges of balancing family and personal ambitions in parent-child relationships.

Racism as an Impediment to Aspirations

Racism and its effects on the main characters are significant in “Fences.” The drama examines the limitations that systematic racism places on African Americans in an era of racial disparity. Troy, a promising young baseball player the Major League rejected, discusses dealing with discrimination. Troy remarks about the black man, Bias, as it is for the play’s key characters, prevented Troy from achieving his goals. Racism is depicted in the play in a way that highlights the continuous fight against racial injustice and brings to mind actual historical events. The portrayal of racism by Wilson and how it affected the lives of the characters, according to scholar Johnson, “resonates with the ongoing struggle for equality and social justice” (Bigsby). “Fences” promotes racial equality by emphasizing its flaws.

The Illusory Nature of the American Dream

The drama “Fences” questions the validity of the American Dream by examining the challenges of obtaining financial success in a prejudiced society. The fundamental reason Troy Maxson has lost faith in the American Dream is the structural obstacles in his reaching his full potential. Wilson deftly demonstrates how “Troy’s experiences reflect the unfulfilled promises of the American Dream for African Americans” (Bigsby). Troy has trouble succeeding because of racial prejudice and a lack of opportunities. The movie “Fences” explores social injustices and challenges the idea of the American Dream via Troy’s experiences.

The Complexity of Relationships Between Characters

Interpersonal interactions are complicated in “Fences.” August Wilson creates intricate interpersonal connections. Troy Maxson and Bono are close pals. Bono leads Troy throughout the play. According to Johnson’s team of researchers, “Bono’s loyalty and unwavering support for Troy illustrate the complexity and depth of their friendship” (Bigsby). Their conversations reveal their strong bond, mutual support, and shared history. The bond between Troy and Rose deepens. Troy’s adultery destroys their once-joyful marriage. With its sensitive discourse, “Fences” illustrates the highs and lows of relationships.

Death as Personification and its Symbolic Meaning

Death, as personified in “Fences,” represents death and human behavior. Troy’s brother Gabriel serves as an example of it. Gabriel has become a symbol of death due to the mental and physical injuries he received during combat. Thompson writes, paraphrasing, “Gabriel’s presence in the play symbolizes the looming specter of death and serves as a reminder of the consequences of one’s choices” (Wilson). In order to warn the characters of their imminent deaths and the effects of their deeds, Gabriel plays trumpet music throughout the play and makes brief appearances. The personification of death is a device “Fences” uses to examine themes of accountability and the effects of one’s choices.

Character Development of the Protagonist

The protagonist of “Fences,” Troy Maxson, experiences personal progress and stagnation. Troy is imperfect and multidimensional throughout the play. He shows vulnerability and empathy, yet his shortcomings and decisions hold him back. According to scholar Johnson, “Troy’s character arc showcases the struggle between personal aspirations and the weight of past mistakes” (Wilson). Despite his goals, Troy’s adultery and troubled relationships hinder his character improvement. As the play progresses, Troy’s internal struggles keep him from changing. “Fences” analyzes human nature via Troy’s character.

The Significance of the Title “Fences” and Its Relation to Characters and Themes

The struggle of people experiencing poverty is essential to the characters’ quest for safety, happiness, and the American Dream in “Fences,” as is the significance of wealth and money. The drama explores the characters’ hardships to survive and create a stable financial future. The strain of sustaining his family on the meager money he receives as a garbage collector presents particular difficulties for Troy. A scholar named Johnson claims that “the portrayal of the working poor in ‘Fences’ sheds light on the systemic economic disparities that hinder upward mobility and reinforce cycles of poverty” (Wilson). The play exposes the depressing situations of people confined to low-paying jobs and sheds light on the cultural barriers that prevent them from achieving financial stability. “Fences” offers a critical examination of economic disparities and inspires reflection on the challenges disadvantaged people encounter in their quest for economic stability by investigating poverty and the working class.

The Significance of Money, Wealth, and the Working Poor

For the characters in “Fences,” the pursuit of security, contentment, and the American Dream rides on the success or failure of the working class. The drama focuses on the protagonists’ monetary woes. With his salary as a garbage collector, Troy needs help providing for his family. To paraphrase Professor Johnson: “The portrayal of the working poor in ‘Fences’ sheds light on the systemic economic disparities that hinder upward mobility and reinforce cycles of poverty” (Wilson). The novel draws attention to the struggles of low-wage workers and the cultural barriers they face in achieving economic independence. “Fences” challenges economic injustice and invites reflection on the plight of the working class through its examination of poverty and the working class.

The Play’s Attitude toward Women

Exploring the roles and experiences of women in “Fences” reveals gender dynamics. The female characters of August Wilson reconcile their personal goals with society. Rose, Troy’s wife, demonstrates fortitude and tenacity. The author Thompson claims that “Rose’s character challenges traditional gender roles and portrays the strength and agency of women in a patriarchal society” (Wilson). The play depicts women’s boundaries and concessions, particularly in domestic and private settings. The strong female characters in “Fences” explore gender relations, power structures, and women’s tenacity in the face of social expectations.

The Characters’ Dreams, Hopes, and Aspirations

Wants and goals to drive “Fences” characters’ lives and relationships. August Wilson’s primary protagonists seek more from life and relentlessly pursue their visions of the American Dream. “The characters’ dreams and aspirations provide insight into their motivations, struggles, and the complexities of their identities,” says Wilson. Troy and Cory want to grow and succeed in life. The drama also examines family and social expectations vs. personal goals. “Fences” explores personal ambition, societal limits, and the impact of achieving goals via the characters’ fantasies.

The Play’s Commentary on the American Dream

For everybody who has tried to achieve the American Dream despite its elusiveness, “Fences” offers incisive analysis. August Wilson challenges the simplistic, upwardly mobile American Dream. The play “interrogates the myth of the American Dream and exposes the systemic barriers that prevent marginalized communities from achieving upward mobility,” according to Wilson. The drama tackles American Dream justice and diversity via characters like Troy, who faces racial prejudice and restricted chances. “Fences” explores the gap between ambitions and realities to make us think critically about the American Dream’s restrictions and relevance in the current world.

Expectations of Children’s Dreams versus Parental Aspirations

“Fences” examines how the objectives of parents and children diverge. Troy’s disagreement with his son Cory’s goals is an example of the generational gap in the play. Johnson, a scholar, claims that “the play portrays the struggle between parental desires for stability and the yearning of children for personal fulfillment and self-expression” (Wilson). Troy wants Cory to stop playing football so he will not face his failure. “Fences” explores the complexities of parental expectations and personal objectives and the compromises and concessions made by parents and children via this clash.

The Significance of the Setting to the Play’s Themes

The setting of “Fences” greatly influences its themes and storyline. Pittsburgh’s urban location in the 1950s provides a backdrop against which the protagonists’ goals might be viewed. The play’s environment, particularly the run-down area, and the physical limitations represent the social and financial limits that the protagonists must face, claims Thompson’s literary interpretation of the play (Wilson). These issues are represented by the walls around the community and its bleak, divided environs. The setting focuses on how cultural expectations, racial discrimination, and economic disparity impact the protagonists and villains. The significance of the location in “Fences” highlights the neighborhood’s significance and the larger social context.

Racism and Oppression: Past and Present

Both “Fences”‘s historical context and its continued relevance in the present day force viewers to confront their own biases and injustices. The characters in August Wilson’s play show how pervasive racism still is in today’s society. Scholar Johnson writes that the play “reveals deeply ingrained societal prejudices and injustices that persist beyond the play’s time period” (Wilson), referring to the play’s discussion of racism and oppression. The characters of Troy and others in “Fences” portray the effects of racial injustice. The play inspires thought about institutional racism and the evolution of society through its use of flashbacks. The film “Fences” is about a fight for equality in the face of bigotry and injustice.

Family Obligations and Cultural Context

“Fences” characters are shaped by their families and their cultures. The narrative highlights the importance of duty, loyalty, and family. For example, Thompson notes in his critical study that “the play explores the influence of cultural expectations and family obligations on the choices and relationships of the characters” (Wilson). The protagonists’ racial and historical contexts as African Americans make these endeavors more challenging. The play “Fences” investigates family relationships, the price of caregiving, and the impact of cultural background on the obligation to care for one’s relatives. The play highlights the significance of the characters’ upbringing and cultural upbringing.


Finally, August Wilson’s “Fences” analyzes several literary topics and approaches to illuminate the intricacies of human experience and societal challenges. The drama explores family dynamics and how actions influence loved ones. It highlights minority populations’ current and historical battles with racism and injustice.

The play also highlights how the American Dream is unattainable due to insurmountable institutional impediments. “Fences” also shows how to balance parents’ priorities with their children’s goals.

The play’s usage of “Fences,” which has several meanings, refers to the character’s physical and emotional boundaries. The play’s decaying neighborhood symbolizes the protagonists’ social and economic challenges. The drama analyzes family values and how cultural norms impact character decisions and interactions.

“Fences” explores human complexity, social restrictions, and goal-setting via a rich tapestry of topics and literary approaches. The play’s profound reflection on human difficulties, dreams, and goals makes it appealing.

“Fences” has persisted because it may make readers reflect on themselves, their relationships, and the world. It forces us to face our limitations, injustices, and ambitions. Immersing ourselves in “Fences” forces us to rethink our presumptions and get a more profound knowledge of human experience.

Work Cited

Bigsby, Christopher. “The Cambridge Companion to August Wilson.” Google Books, Cambridge University Press, 29 Nov. 2007,

Wilson, August. “Fences by August Wilson.” Open Library, Plume/Penguin, 1 Jan. 1986,