‘Fences’ (Troy): “Rose, I done tried all my life to live decent”

FENCES by August Wilson

From: Play

Type: Dramatic

Character: Troy Maxson was a former baseball player in the Negro Leagues who now works for the sanitation department.

Gender: Male

Age Range: 40's | 50's

Summary: Troy tries to explain to Rose why he cheated on her.

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TROY: It ain’t about nobody being a better woman or nothing. Rose, you ain’t the blame. A man couldn’t ask for no woman to be a better wife than you’ve been. I’m responsible for it. I done locked myself into a pattern trying to take care of you all that I forgot about myself.

Rose, I done tried all my life to live decent… to live a clean… hard… useful life. I tried to be a good husband to you. In every way I knew how. Maybe I come into the world backwards, I don’t know. But… you born with two strikes on you before you come to the plate. You got to guard it closely… always looking for the curve-ball on the inside corner. You can’t afford to let none get past you. You can’t afford a call strike. If you going down… you going down swinging. Everything lined up against you. What you gonna do. I fooled them, Rose. I bunted. When I found you and Cory and a halfway decent job… I was safe. Couldn’t nothing touch me. I wasn’t gonna strike out no more. I wasn’t going back to the penitentiary. I wasn’t gonna lay in the streets with a bottle of wine. I was safe. I had me a family. A job. I wasn’t gonna get that last strike. I was on first looking for one of them boys to knock me in. To get me home.

Then when I saw that gal… she firmed up my backbone. And I got to thinking that if I tried… I just might be able to steal second. Do you understand after eighteen years I wanted to steal second.

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