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Cesar Martinez

AP English Literature

Period 1

Fences Allusion Essay

In the drama Fences by August Wilson, the use of allusions helps enhance the overall meaning of

the novel. For example, Wilson employs several religious references such as Gabriel alluding to

the Archangel Gabriel, an angel of annunciation, resurrection, mercy vengeance, death, and

revelation. In the novel, Gabriels behavior can be seen as odd for he thought now of himself as

not a person but the angel Gabriel who will open the gates of heaven. This behavior may be due

to the injury he received in war. Another religious Allusion that Wilson employs is the use of St.

Peter. Gabe often refers to St. Peter as if he knows him personally. Gabe tells Troy that he has

seen St. Peter's book for Judgment Day and Troy's name appeared inside. Gabe saw Rose's name

too, but not the way Troy's name appeared. These religious allusions help gain a deeper

understanding of the overall meaning of Fences by highlighting the importance of religion in the

Maxson household which plays a significant role for the Maxsons. Wilson also introduces

several baseball allusions which some of the characters are fond of. Troy, for example,

references Roberto Clemente, a Puerto Rican baseball player in an all white team. I ain't

thinking about the Pirates. Got an all white team. Got that boy that Puerto Rican boy

Clemente. Don't even have play him. That boy could be something if they give him a chance.

Play him one day and sit him on the bench next if they got a white fellow sitting on the bench

you can bet your last dollar he can't play! The colored guy got to be twice as good before you

get on the team. Another example is when Rose brings up Jackie Robinson, one of the first
African Americans to ever play in the big leagues. Rose says: They got a lot of colored

baseball players now. Jackie Robinson was the first. Folks had to wait for Jackie Robinson. Troy:

I done seen a hundred niggers play baseball better than Jackie Robinson. Hell, I know some

teams Jackie Robinson couldn't even make! What you talking about Jackie Robinson. Jackie

Robinson wasn't nobody. I'm talking about if you could play ball then they ought to have let you

play. Don't care what color you were. Come telling me I come along too early. If you could

play....then they ought to have let you play. Both of these baseball players symbolize

courageous people for Rose and Troy because they broke stereotypical barriers similar to barriers

that the Maxsons are currently facing involving the fact that they are African Americans.

Furthermore, the overall meaning of the drama Fences, is emphasized through the use of these

allusions which help develop the characters and validate their behaviors.



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