The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project

The Fence Symbol Analysis

The Fence Symbol Icon

After Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson beat Matthew Shepard, Russell tied Matthew to a fence and the two men left him there to die. The next day, Aaron Kreifels, a local student, found Matthew unconscious, still tied to the fence. The fence where Matthew was found is on the outskirts of town, and the spot offers a view of the city lights, the stars, and the beautiful, stark landscape. After Matthew dies, the fence becomes a pilgrimage site where people go to meditate on their grief, the hatred that led to the crime, and the possibilities for the town’s recovery. Members of Tectonic Theater Company and local people make trips to the fence to pay their tributes to Matthew, and some of them find themselves moved to tears. The fence is referred to throughout the play as both a site of violence and of redemption, where people can go to acknowledge hatred and think about Laramie’s fight against bigotry. The fence thus represents both the incredible violence of Matthew’s murder, and Laramie’s increased awareness in its aftermath.

The Fence Quotes in The Laramie Project

The The Laramie Project quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Fence. 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:
Homophobia, Tolerance, and Acceptance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dramatists Play Service edition of The Laramie Project published in 2001.
Act 2: Lifestyle 2 Quotes

Now, those two people, the accused… I think they deserve the death penalty…Now as for the victim, I know that that lifestyle is legal, but I will tell you one thing. I hope that Matthew Shepard as he was tied to that fence that he had time to reflect on a moment when someone had spoken the word of the Lord to him—and that before he slipped into a coma he had a chance to reflect on his lifestyle.

Related Characters: The Baptist Minister (speaker), Matthew Shepard, Aaron McKinney, Russell Henderson, Amanda Gronich
Related Symbols: The Fence
Page Number: 67-68
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Act 3: Aftermath Quotes

It just hit me today, the minute that I got out of the courthouse. That the reason that God wanted me to find him is, for he didn’t have to die out there alone, you know. And if I wouldn’t’ve came along, they wouldn’t’ve found him for a couple of weeks at least. So it makes me feel really good that he didn’t have to die out there alone.

Related Characters: Aaron Kreifels (speaker), Matthew Shepard
Related Symbols: The Fence
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3: Epilogue Quotes

And I remembered to myself the night he and I drove around together, he said to me, “Laramie sparkles, doesn’t it?” And where he was up there, if you sit exactly where he was, up there, Laramie sparkles from there…Matt was right there in that spot, and I can just picture in his eyes, I can just picture what he was seeing. The last thing he saw on this earth was the sparkling lights.

Related Characters: Doc O’Connor (speaker), Matthew Shepard
Related Symbols: The Fence
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The Fence Symbol Timeline in The Laramie Project

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Fence appears in The Laramie Project. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1: The Fence
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
Theater and Representation Theme Icon
Stephen Mead Johnson describes how the fence where Matthew Shepard was found in a coma became a sort of pilgrimage site. Stephen... (full context)
Act 1: Finding Matthew Shepard
Homophobia, Tolerance, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Religion, Morality, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Aaron Kreifels describes finding Matthew Shepard tied to the fence where Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson left him to die. Aaron Kreifels had gone for... (full context)
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
...to the call. Reggie ran over and saw that Matthew Shepard was tied to the fence, covered in blood, and was barely breathing. The only place Matthew did not have blood... (full context)
Homophobia, Tolerance, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
Reggie Fluty resumes talking about how Matthew Shepard was bound to the fence tightly with white rope, and notes that his shoes were missing. Reggie struggled to release... (full context)
Act 2: The Essential Facts
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
Media and Community Theme Icon
...and Russell Henderson met Matthew Shepard at the bar and then drove him to the fence, where they tied Matthew up and beat him. Later, the police department found Matthew’s wallet... (full context)
Act 3: Aaron McKinney (continued)
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
...while Matthew begged him to stop. Rob asks if Russell Henderson dragged him to the fence and tied him up after that, but Aaron says he does not remember clearly. He... (full context)
Act 3: Dennis Shepard’s Statement
Homophobia, Tolerance, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
Religion, Morality, and Prejudice Theme Icon
...killed, stating that although Matthew officially died in the hospital, he truly died tied the fence after Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson’s attack. However, Dennis says, Matthew was not alone, thanks... (full context)
Act 3: Aftermath
Homophobia, Tolerance, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
Religion, Morality, and Prejudice Theme Icon
...thankfulness that the case is over. Aaron Kreifels, the boy who found Matthew on the fence, says that, leaving the courthouse, he finally understood that God wanted him to find Matthew... (full context)
Act 3: Epilogue
Homophobia, Tolerance, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
The narrator states that the company decided to meet one last time at the fence where Matthew Shepard was found to say their goodbyes. Doc O’Connor then talks about how... (full context)