Troy’s family and friends often complain that he has not noticed “the world done moved on” from his own personal experiences. Fact is, all of Troy’s subjective experiences have prejudiced him against outside influences. If his son has a different experience from his own, and a dream about playing professional football, Troy quashes it, because the world did not treat him fair, and he was “ahead of his time.” He maintains a consistent, preferred routine of behaviors, everything from coming home on Fridays and handing over his paycheck to his wife, to sitting out back, talking to his friends and drinking his once-a-week whiskey. The older Troy gets, the more dissatisfied he becomes with his life, and he starts to “act out” – wanting to just “sit in someone’s house and have a good time,” and resenting the many responsibilities he created for himself, by getting married and having children. He avidly sets himself against broadening his worldview or his opinions, showing the limits of his under-developed, biased inferior Ne. He also uses it to “make up fanciful stories” about wrestling with Death. He is above all things practical, telling his son his dreams are foolish, that they cannot afford a television because he needs to save up for a new roof; reminding him to keep his summer job, and not place all his hopes on a far-fetched dream about becoming a football star. Troy knows he can make more money driving a truck than he can riding on the back, so he gets a lawyer and forces them to make him the “first colored garbage truck driver.” Unfortunately for his family and friends, Troy is ultimately self-absorbed. He points out the many ways he has taken care of his family and tied himself to duty and responsibility, but he consistently prioritizes his own feelings above everyone else’s—he cheats on his wife because he’s bored with domesticity, he crushes his son’s dreams out of fear his son will become more successful, he refuses to give his first son money on paydays, because he won’t adhere to what Troy thinks of as a proper life.

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Troy’s son tells his father that “my mama is afraid of you, but I ain’t.” Troy challenges him to smack him with the baseball bat, kill him if he has to, but he isn’t taking no lip from his son. Troy dominates, bullies, and out-shouts everyone in his life, ultimately destroying all his relationships in the process. Though he’s forced himself into a sense of “duty” and obligation, he hates it and longs for the freedom to do whatever he wants – so he takes on a mistress out of boredom. Eventually, his belligerent and self-serving attitude creates division between himself and all his children, as well as his wife. He runs off his children one by one, due to his domineering attitude. He boasts about beating Death and making deals with the Devil, to prove he ain’t scared of nobody or nothing. He has an earthy, sexual appetite, marked by his persistent bawdy references to what he wants out of his marriage and his excesses. His 7 wing is playful and funny but chafes beneath a life of predictability and boredom.