Fences

Pdf fan
Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Jim Bono Character Analysis

Troy’s best friend, Bono is the follower in their relationship, evidenced by his admission to Troy when confronting him about his affair with Alberta. Ever since Bono observed Troy’s decision to take Rose’s hand in marriage, Bono admired his sensibility and wisdom. Troy, though attractive to many women, chose to commit himself to Rose, and this signaled to Bono that he was a man worth following: that Troy would lead Bono somewhere prosperous in life. Unlike Rose, Bono gives-in to Troy’s fantasies—to his fictional tales about meeting with Mr. Death, probably as a result of Bono’s own, somewhat blind devotion to what he views as Troy’s strength and work ethic. Further, whereas Troy ultimately embodies betrayal and the hurt caused by adultery, Bono constantly demonstrates a devotion to his wife, Lucille. Whenever Bono leaves the Maxson household, he says he must get home to Lucille—even on Friday nights, when he and Troy engage in their ritual of drink and conversation, Bono leaves a little early in order to get home to his wife.

Jim Bono Quotes in Fences

The Fences quotes below are all either spoken by Jim Bono or refer to Jim Bono. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Plume edition of Fences published in 1986.
Act 1: Scene 1 Quotes

I ain’t worried about them firing me. They gonna fire me cause I asked a question? That’s all I did. I went to Mr. Rand and asked him, “Why?” Why you got the white mens driving and the colored lifting? Told him, “what’s the matter, don’t I count? You think only white fellows got sense enough to drive a truck. That ain’t no paper job! Hell, anybody can drive a truck. How come you got all whites driving and the colored lifting?” He told me “take it to the union.” Well, hell, that’s what I done! Now they wanna come up with this pack of lies.

Related Characters: Troy Maxson (speaker), Jim Bono
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

Troy speaks these lines to Bono, at the beginning of the play, as the two participate in one of their Friday night payday rituals of drink and conversation. Here, we see the firmness of Troy’s conviction in facing the inequality at his workplace, where only white men are hired as drivers, and black men only as the actual garbage collectors. This willingness to protest seems to suggest that standing up to everyday racism is a fundamental part of Troy’s character, since filing a complaint through his union could very well get him fired. Further, Troy’s deed attests to his extraordinary confidence in himself, since he’s presumably the first at his company to file such a complaint.

Though it’s clear that Troy is certainly a vocal opponent of white power and racist coercion, his primary motivation for filing his complaint seems to be self-gain—to simply attain, for himself, a job as a truck driver. Once he achieves this, he stops there—he doesn’t advocate for his fellow black workers. This speaks to the hypocrisy which runs like a crack through Troy’s character in many other forms throughout the play; though Troy is willing to defend the principle of equality in the name of himself, and though he does achieve some degree of it at work, he fails to defend it for those around him.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Fences quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

I told that boy about that football stuff. The white man ain’t gonna let him get nowhere with that football. I told him when he first come to me with it. Now you come telling me he done went and got more tied up in it. He ought to go and get recruited in how to fix cars or something where he can make a living.

Related Characters: Troy Maxson (speaker), Cory Maxson, Rose Maxson , Jim Bono
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

Troy speaks these lines to Rose in the first scene of the first act, when he and Bono are engaging in one of their Friday night payday get-togethers. Rose enters their conversation for a bit, and informs Troy that Cory’s been recruited by a college football team.

Troy’s disdain for a career in sports stems from his experience playing baseball when he was younger. Despite being a very talented athlete, his hopes of playing professionally were cut short due to racial discrimination—black players simply weren’t given a chance in the major leagues, where skin color was favored over objective talent. Troy’s opinion about what counts as a viable future for Cory, therefore, is shaped by his own past, by a different era in history than the one in which Cory grew up, where—though race relations are still overwhelmingly far from equal and just—there are more opportunities for young black men than there were in Troy’s time. Troy, however, doesn’t think this, and refuses to see it. He stays stuck to his ‘outdated’ view of society, insisting that pursuing sports will only bring Cory disappointment and an unstable lifestyle. To prevent this, Troy advocates—however stubbornly—that Cory pursue a standard trade that will earn him what he imagines would be a steadier, more dependable living. Thus, the conflict between Troy and Cory over football can be explained as a war between two drastically different views of history, society, and race relations.

I wrestled with Death for three days and three nights and I’m standing here to tell you about it. . . . At the end of the third night we done weakened each other to where we can’t hardly move. Death stood up, throwed on his robe . . . had him a white robe with a hood on it. He throwed on that robe and went off to look for his sickle. Say, “I’ll be back.” Just like that. . . . I told him, say, “yeah, but . . . you gonna have to find me!” I wasn’t no fool. I wasn’t going looking for him. Death aint nothing to play with. And I know he’s gonna get me. . . . But . . . as long as I keep up my vigilance . . . he’s gonna have to fight to get me. I ain’t going easy.

Related Characters: Troy Maxson (speaker), Rose Maxson , Jim Bono
Related Symbols: “Mr. Death”
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

Troy speaks these lines to Bono and Rose, in the first scene of the first act, during the two men’s Friday night ritual of drink and conversation. Rose has just scolded Troy for drinking so much, telling him that he’s going to drink himself to death, and this has consequently inspired Troy to address the topic of death.

Here, Troy invokes his “Mr. Death,” a mythical figure with which he’s personified the abstract force of death. Troy’s frequent mentioning of Mr. Death—either in the form of the grim reaper or the devil—speaks to his tendency to tell tall tales about his life, and distort reality with fantasy. Though Troy busies himself in this passage with describing an elaborate wrestling match with the grim reaper (who is not wearing the traditional black, but rather a white robe and hood, perhaps in a reference to a member of the Ku Klux Klan), seeming to intend that his story be taken as a factual account of a real event, Rose translates fantasy into reality by explaining that Troy’s tale actually refers to the time when he contracted pneumonia.

Troy’s insistence that he will only go out with a fight, that he won’t let death take him easily, reflects his hardened and toughened outlook on life itself—an outlook which he tries to instill in Cory. Always trying to remain “vigilant” and armored-up for the approach of this figment of his imagination—for this evil being who has a very personal gripe with him—Troy’s treatment of his family is always tinged by this battle-ready mentality.

You ain’t seen no devil. I done told you that man ain’t had nothing to do with the devil. Anything you can’t understand, you want to call it the devil.

Related Characters: Rose Maxson (speaker), Troy Maxson, Lyons Maxson, Jim Bono
Related Symbols: “Mr. Death”
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

Rose speaks these lines in response to Troy’s declaration that he’s met the devil. It’s the first scene of the first act, and Lyons has just come by to ask Troy if he can borrow some money.

Here, Rose’s function as the voice of reason in her relationship with Troy becomes more apparent. Anything Troy can’t understand, she claims, he wants to attribute to the workings of the devil—to “Mr. Death,” Troy’s personified figure of the abstract, impersonal force of death. Rose thereby offers an explanation for Troy’s tendency to tell tall tales and spin fantasies as if they were true accounts of reality: rather than leaving things open to chance and the contingency of natural events (which make it impossible for anyone to successfully understand the reason behind everything that happens to them in life), Troy would rather give an explanation—even if it means telling a lie. This points to a fundamental attribute of Troy’s psyche: he’s afraid of the unexplainable—of things he doesn’t know or totally understand. This perhaps explains the hardness to his personality—why he treats a new and changing society, like the one Cory inhabits, as if it were the old one in which he grew up, hence why he won’t allow Cory to play sports.

Act 2: Scene 1 Quotes

Some people build fences to keep people out . . . and other people build fences to keep people in. Rose wants to hold on to you all. She loves you.

Related Characters: Jim Bono (speaker), Troy Maxson, Cory Maxson
Related Symbols: The Fence
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

Bono speaks these lines to Troy and Cory in the first scene of the second act, while they’re all working on the fence. Cory has just asked what the point of building the fence is in the first place.

Fully aware that Troy is having an affair with Alberta, Bono wants to evoke, with this statement, a realization in Troy about the gravity of what he’s doing to Rose—that he’s betraying his bond with an incredibly loving, good, and strong woman. As Troy’s best friend, Bono surely knows that Troy’s mind is prone to fantasy—Troy has believed that he can lie to Bono about being monogamous and make him believe it, when Bono has, multiple times throughout the play, told Troy that he’s explicitly seen him interacting with Alberta in an adulterous way. By bypassing Troy’s imaginary world of defense mechanisms against the truth of his actions, and getting Troy to realize he’s forgotten about and pushed aside the love of his incredible wife, he can perhaps trigger in Troy a remembrance of when he was deeply in love with Rose—he can help Troy empathize with Rose in a way that will make him be ashamed of his actions with Alberta. This seems to be Bono’s goal here.

Get the entire Fences LitChart as a printable PDF.
Fences.pdf.medium

Jim Bono Character Timeline in Fences

The timeline below shows where the character Jim Bono appears in Fences. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1: Scene 1
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...place in 1957, and that Troy is fifty-three years old. Having a conversation, he and Bono enter the yard outside Troy’s house. Wilson writes that, of the two friends, Bono is... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
The play begins by Bono accusing Troy of lying. Troy is telling a story about a black man—Troy actually refers... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Troy and Bono’s conversation continues, and Bono says that the same man who was carrying the watermelon had... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
The conversation then shifts to discussing a woman named Alberta. Bono asks Troy how he thinks one of their fellow co-workers is “making out” with Alberta,... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...Alberta’s body, Rose enters from inside the house, walking onto the porch where Troy and Bono are seated. August Wilson writes a note in the script describing Rose as ten years... (full context)
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...shouldn’t concern herself, since it’s “men talk.” After embarrassing Rose by implying, in front of Bono, that he’s going to have sex with her later in the evening, Troy talks about... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Bono chimes in and says that he and his wife Lucille’s first house also wasn’t in... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...recruited in a trade where he can make a proper living, like being an auto-mechanic. Bono says that, if Cory is anything like his dad, Troy, then he’s going to be... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...to give Lyons the money, and Lyons leaves shortly after. Troy says to Rose and Bono that he doesn’t understand why his son doesn’t go out and get a decent job... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
The first scene ends with Troy telling Bono that he loves Rose “so much it hurts,” and that he “done run out of... (full context)
Act 1: Scene 4
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...fourth scene takes place two weeks after the third, on another Friday, when Troy and Bono engage in their payday ritual of drink and conversation. It begins as Cory gets a... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
After Cory leaves, Rose goes back into the house, and Troy and Bono enter the yard. Troy is carrying a bottle of alcohol, and they’re talking about Mr.... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...doesn’t gamble, and that he only attends that club to play music with his band. Bono then lets Lyons know about his father’s new job, adding that all Troy will have... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Bono then talks about his own father, saying how he never knew him, since his dad... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Bono adds that a lot of fathers back in his and Troy’s childhood used to just... (full context)
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
...explains that he walked two-hundred miles from his home to Mobile, but Lyons doesn’t believe him—Bono chimes in, and adds that walking was the only way to get around in those... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
...killing him. Troy explains that this got him fifteen years in prison, where he met Bono and learned how to play baseball. (full context)
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...Lyons leaves soon after, and Troy asks Rose if supper is ready, implying—in front of Bono—that she should hurry, since they’re overdue to have sex. Embarrassed, Rose objects to Troy’s crudeness,... (full context)
Act 2: Scene 1
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...station to check on Gabe, who was arrested for disturbing the peace. Troy returns, with Bono, and says that he bailed Gabe out by paying fifty dollars. Troy tells Rose to... (full context)
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Bono starts to help Troy with sawing wood for the fence, and Troy says that all... (full context)
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
Bono agrees with Troy that all the police care about is money. Bono then criticizes Troy... (full context)
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Bono then tells Troy he’s seen where he and Alberta “all done got tight.” Troy asks... (full context)
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Cory then enters the yard from the house, and Troy tells him that Bono is complaining that the wood’s too hard to cut. Wanting to show off Cory’s strength,... (full context)
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...fence, Cory questions why Rose even wants it built in the first place. Supporting Rose, Bono replies that, while some people build fences to keep people out, some build them to... (full context)
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Wanting a private moment with Bono, Troy tells Cory to go into the house to get a saw. Troy asks Bono... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Seeming still agitated by Bono’s comment, Troy wonders what motive Bono has in saying all of this about Rose, but... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Troy says that he appreciates Bono’s sentiments, and claims that, while he didn’t go out looking for anything, and thinks that... (full context)
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
Bono replies that Troy is ultimately the one responsible for his actions, but Troy explains that... (full context)
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
While Bono doesn’t doubt Troy’s love and respect for Rose, he says he worries about what will... (full context)
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Troy replies that he gets involved in Bono and Lucille’s business all the time and, confirming this, he asks Bono when he’s going... (full context)
Act 2: Scene 4
Blackness and Race Relations Theme Icon
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
As Troy sings the song about his old dog Blue, Bono enters the yard. Bono says he wanted to visit with Troy, since he barely sees... (full context)
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...garbage, since you have no one to talk to, and then he asks how Lucille, Bono’s wife, is doing. Bono says Lucille is doing alright, despite her arthritis. Troy then offers... (full context)
Act 2: Scene 5
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
...years after its beginning. Troy has died, and it’s the morning of his funeral. Rose, Bono, and Raynell (now seven years old) are gathered at the Maxson household. Raynell is in... (full context)
Manhood and Fathers Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
As Rose and Cory embrace, Bono and Lyons enter the yard—they’re both impressed by Cory’s accomplishments in the military. Rose says... (full context)
Practicality, Idealism, and Race Theme Icon
Family, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Bono leaves to go help at the church where Troy’s funeral will be held, and Rose... (full context)