In the play ‘Fences’, Rose Maxson is presented as a very strong character despite her husband’s nasty behavior of being a womanizer. This article will argue for the idea that Rose is indeed a strong woman in a male dominated society. Despite all the heartaches that she faces from when the play begins to the very end when Troy his husband dies, Rose is brought out very strong and takes charge of her family in his absence (Act 2: scene 5, 99). Just as the title suggests it is indeed a matter of mending fences in her family if things are anticipated to head in the right direction.
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When the play commences, Bono notes that Troy is with no doubt cheating on rose with another woman who is revealed later as Alberta (Act One: Scene 1, 23). Bono sees to have pity on rose who on the other hand remained faithful to her husband and at no given time does she abandon her family or her responsibilities as Troy’s wife. This clearly indicates that, Troy is with no doubt a traitor who takes the advantage of her rather hardworking wife to go out with other women without contributing anything to the family. Her wife who is in this case very loyal and faithful to him does not give up and keeps hoping against hope that things will work (Act One: Scene 2, 27). This is a clear indication that rose is indeed a very strong woman.
In yet another incidence, her strong personality is further seen when Troy admits to Bono his friend that Rose wants the fence made because her family is what she loves most. Irony is seen here given that Troy is the one saying this while in actual sense he contributes to towards disuniting the family with his cheating behavior (Act One: Scene 4, 48). When Rose wants to stay close to Troy and show her love, Troy is getting further away by fathering a child outside marriage. This indicates that Rose is very strong and does not allow her family to be disrupted no matter what. Although Troy is bold enough to open up to his wife about his secret affair, she keeps her cool and accuses him of wanting so much from her yet giving very little in return. Her strong nature enables her to stay in the marriage all the same.
Upon the death of his concubine while giving birth, the child was left on his own. Rose understands enough to accept the responsibility of taking care after the baby arguing that the baby was not to blame for what had happened (Act Two: Scene 1, 52). This is very daring of her given that her marriage was being ruined by the mother of the toddler in question. Despite all that, she does not see it as an opportunity for her to get her revenge. This is yet another prove that Rose is a very strong woman (Act Two: Scene 1, 52).
Despite the constant quarrels that exist between the father and the son, Rose stands neutral trying to bring the two together. The rather careless husband who spends most of his time drinking with friends during his free time does not make any contribution towards the family’s upkeep. It is ironical that in one of his fight with Cory, he likens the idea of pushing him out of the house which he did not build with his money anyway. This clearly shows the reader that Tory had nothing to show as the man of the house (Act Two: Scene 2, 56). Putting this into consideration, it is evident that Rose was a very strong woman to have put up with such a man who was only interested in women and picking up fights with his son instead of providing for him and the family. Were not for her strong nature, Rose would have walked out of the marriage and look for a rather reasonable man who was responsible to take care of her and indeed her perfect match. So going by the above, it is evident all credit goes to Rose who is actually the woman behind her family’s unity.
In yet another incidence in the play where the strong character of Rose is portrayed, is upon the death of her husband troy after he suffers heart attack (Act Two: Scene 4, 72). Her forgiving nature is seen when she tries to convince her son to attend his father’s burial despite all his misdeeds which had caused him pain for long. This is a deliberate move by the writer to show the strong character of Rose who even after suffering in the hands of Troy her husband finds it in her heart to forgive him (Act Two: Scene 5, 87). The fact that Rose manages to win her son’s heart to also forgive his dad is evidence enough that she is of strong nature.
In conclusion, the author has managed to develop the strong character of Rose beyond all odds. To think that despite her awareness that her husband was cheating on her does not give her an enough reason to call it quits is too much (Act Two: Scene 1, 99). She manages to survive in a male dominated society proving further that she is indeed a strong woman.
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