Fences Act Two: Scene One Summary & Analysis | SparkNotes (2023)


Cory hits the baseball tied to the tree in the yard. when he seesRose, he tells her that he will not leave the football team. Rose agrees to speak to himTroyon Cory's behalf when Troy comes home from bailGabrielfrom prison. Gabe was arrested for disrupting the play. It cost Troy fifty dollars to save Gabriel. Troy and Bono believe that the police often arrest Gabriel because it's easy for them to catch him and it makes them fifty dollars quickly. Bono and Troy work on the fence together. Bono complains that the wood is too hard and difficult to saw through. Bono again asks Troy about his relationship with Alberta. Bono says they "got stuck" or closer together. Troy denies Bono's accusation. Cory joins them and slices through the wood with ease.

Cory and Troy don't understand why Rose wants to build a fence. Bono knows why and explains to Troy and Cory that Rose loves her family and wants to keep them safe and close to their love. Bono tells Troy and Cory that people build fences for two reasons: "Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in." Bono does not mention Troy's affair to Cory, but shares his Opinion on what Troy should do through his explanation of the fence. Bono implies that Troy should respect Rose's love and be loyal to her rather than push her and Cory away from him.

(Video) Fences, Act 2, Scene 1 Lesson-Pt. 1

When Cory goes inside to look for a saw, Bono more confronts Troy about his affair. Troy finally confesses to Bono that he is indeed having an affair with Alberta. Bono wants Troy to end the affair before it's too late, and he reminds Troy how much Rose loves him and what a good wife she is. Bono bets Troy that if he finishes building the fence for Rose, Bono will buy his wife Lucille the refrigerator he has long promised her. Bono decides to go home and stop helping Troy with the fence.

Rose asks Troy what happened to Gabe at the train station. Troy tells Rose about the fifty dollars and a hearing in three weeks to decide whether or not Gabe should be institutionalized again. Troy explains to Rose that Gabe was arrested for "crying and moving on" after chasing away a bunch of kids who were raising him. Troy and Rose argue over whether or not Gabe needs more supervision.

(Video) Fences Summary

Troy suddenly tells Rose that he will be the father of another woman's child. Gabriel shows up at the house and interrupts their important conversation. Rose becomes angered and outraged. She can't believe she's been faithful to Troy for eighteen years and he did this to her. Gabriel senses that Troy has done something to Rose. Gabe compliments Troy on helping him at the police station earlier in the day. Troy expresses to Rose that he spent time in Alberta to escape. Rose believes she was a good wife and mother and Troy should have stayed with her. Troy selfishly tells Rose he used Alberta to escape the pain of his stagnant career and life goals. Rose refutes his apology by claiming that she invested her entire life in Troy, even when she knew he was going nowhere. Rose feels just as stuck as Troy, but she didn't hurt Troy like she did. Rose accuses Troy of being selfish and taking and not giving. This makes Troy very angry and he grabs Rose's arm. Rose yells at Troy for hurting her arm. Cory hears the noise from the house. He comes outside and surprises Troy by grabbing him from behind. Cory punches Troy in the chest and throws Troy to the ground. Both Troy and Cory are surprised by Cory's behavior. Troy lunges at Cory, but Rose holds him back. Troy gathers himself and yells at Cory instead of hitting him. Troy tells Cory he just went on strike number two and leaves the yard.


In a moment of compassion, Bono spells out to Cory and Troy the reason Rose wants to build the fence. Bono sees the fence as a defining symbol of her qualities as a wife and mother; She fears her family's relationships are falling apart, and she hopes the fence will keep her loved ones close. Bono notes that the fence symbolizes both the negative and positive aspects of the Maxson family. His reference to the people who build fences to push people away is for Troy, whose affair will eventually hurt his wife and who is already hurting his son Cory by preventing him from achieving his dreams consequences.

(Video) Fences August Wilton | Analysis Of Act 1 Scene 4 | Literature In English | SS2

We never learn the practical reason why Rose wants to build the fence. Maybe she wants Troy and Cory to team up while building a fence together. Maybe she thinks it's a way to keep an eye on Troy. Wilson never lets us into that part of Rose's thinking, so the fence, like Bono's description, leaves the viewer to interpret the fence's meaning for themselves.

Read a mini-essay on the meaning of the play's title.

(Video) Fences: Act ii Scene i

Bono's poignant observation of Rose's desire to keep her family together leads Troy to admit the truth about his affair. Troy's admission to Bonoles leads to the play's escalating plot, culminating in Troy's admission of his affair to Rose. Up to this point, Troy has remained in denial about his affair, allowing himself the luxury of believing in Alberta and escaping into a world of illusions, detached from his real commitments and disappointments. By telling Bono the truth aloud, Troy begins to fully understand the enormity of the betrayal he has committed. Unfortunately for Troy, he's too late: Alberta is now pregnant with his child.

Unfortunately for Troy, his timing is too late. Alberta is pregnant, creating another realized form of his betrayal that cannot be erased. Troy and Rose clash over Gabe's recent arrest and decision to move out, fueling the mounting action and plunging Troy and Rose into the unsatisfactory bickering of their failing relationship. Rose's involvement in Gabe's life also reflects how closely connected Troy's family is to her own life, a stark contrast to beloved Alberta, who is a stranger with no family responsibilities. Troy blurts out to Rose the fact of his affair with Alberta in a double dose of shocking betrayal. Rather than revealing his affair first and then the pregnancy, he dished out both parts of his news at once, telling Rose, "I'm going to be a daddy." Rose demands an explanation and Troy, still clinging to a world of illusions and selfish excuses, gives Rose only indulgent reasons for needing to be with Alberta and never apologizes for his decision.

(Video) Fences By August Wilton | Analysis Of Act 1 Scene 2 | Literature In English | SS2

Rose and Troy's differing views on how to live their lives come to a head here. When Troy explains that the affair felt like he was accomplishing something rather than stagnating in an impasse and failing relationships at home, calling the decision a second steal, like the step in baseball, Rose snaps in the effort , Troy to ground him in the reality of his mistake. She says, "We're not talking about baseball! We're talking about you going to bed with another woman!” Troy continues to see the story only from his point of view, not understanding the impact his actions are having on anyone but himself, even if his actions soon bring new life into the world will bring and change the lives of those closest to him forever.

Read key quotes from the play about marriage.

(Video) Fences By August Wilton | Analysis Of Act 1 Scene 1 | Literature In English | SS2


What happens in Act 2 Scene 1 of Fences? ›

When Cory goes into the house to look for a saw, Bono confronts Troy more explicitly about his affair. Troy finally admits to Bono that he is indeed having an affair with Alberta. Bono wants Troy to stop the affair before it's too late, and he reminds Troy of how much Rose loves him, and what a good woman she is.

How would you summarize Act 2 Scene 2 of Fences? ›

Rose learns from the hospital that Alberta had a healthy baby girl but Alberta died during childbirth. Troy confronts the imaginary character, Death, out loud again. He challenges Death to come and get him after he the builds a fence. Troy dares Death to confront him "man to man," still confident that he would win.

What are the metaphors in Act 2 Scene 1 of Fences? ›

In Act Two, scene one Rose's description of her life is a metaphor of planting. She says, "I took all my feelings, my wants and needs, my dreams and I buried them inside you. I planted a seed and watched and prayed over it. I planted myself inside you and waited to bloom.

How would you summarize act one scene one of Fences? ›

In this first scene, the audience is able to learn about Troy's personality and also his relationship between his two sons. Both his sons are involved in artistic pursuits; but whereas Lyons's dream is to be a musician, Cory's passion is football. However, Troy is not supportive of either of their dreams.

What is the point of Act 2 Scene 1? ›

This scene takes place outside the Capulet orchard. Romeo hopes to see Juliet again after falling in love with her at first sight during the Capulet masquerade ball. He leaps the orchard wall when he hears Mercutioand Benvolio approaching.

How did Troy betray Rose? ›

Not only did he cheat on his wife, he went fathered a child with somebody else. Wilson really keeps the surprises coming with this revelation. We pretty much knew there was an affair going on, but we had no idea about this. Rose feels like Troy has betrayed his brother Gabriel by putting him into a mental institution.

What happens that is significant in Act 2 Scene 2? ›

Romeo reveals himself, agreeing to forsake the name Romeo if he can have her love. Juliet warns him that, as a Montague, he'll be killed if he's spotted with her, but Romeo doesn't care. After much discussion, the two swear their love for each other and agree to be married.

What is the conflict in Act 2 Scene 2? ›

If Romeo abandoned his family name, he would still be Romeo. Juliet calls into the night for Romeo to "refuse thy name" and in return, she will "no longer be a Capulet." Therein lies one of the great conflicts of the play — the protagonists' family names operate against their love.

What is Troy's reason for cheating? ›

Before Rose responds, Troy muses that he cheated on his wife because he has felt restrained and worn out due to “standing in the same place for eighteen years” (Wilson 2.1).

What does the devil symbolize in Fences? ›

In August Wilson's play Fences, the Devil represents for Troy the struggles throughout his life. Troy uses images of the Devil to illuminate his fight against death when he had pneumonia. He also uses the Devil to express his views toward some white characters in the play that he interacted with.

What are two themes in Fences? ›

  • Blackness and Race Relations.
  • Practicality, Idealism, and Race.
  • Manhood and Fathers.
  • Family, Duty, and Betrayal.
  • Mortality.

What is the symbolism in Fences? ›

To Rose, a fence is a symbol of her love and her desire for a fence indicates that Rose represents love and nurturing. Troy and Cory on the other hand think the fence is a drag and reluctantly work on finishing Rose's project. Bono also observes that to some people, fences keep people out and push people away.

How does Act 2 of Fences start? ›

Lights rise on Cory hitting the rag ball hanging from the tree with a baseball bat. Rose comes out and tells Cory to help her clean the cupboard. Cory says he's not quitting the team, no matter what his father says.

What is the moral of the story Fences? ›

“Fences” is a film about how our environment shapes us, and how, no matter how noble their intentions, our parents can't help but mess us up in some fashion, just as their parents had done for them. This is our legacy as humans.

What is the summary of the poem Fences? ›

The poem shows how class privilege creates a restrictive and unequal society, barring the less fortunate from their own local resources while granting the rich access to virtually anything.

What happens in act 2 of a story? ›

Act Two is When Your Character Changes

In a three act structure (for a heroic, or positive story), your main character opens the story as one version of themselves, is changed by their journey, and ends as a new and improved person. Act Two is when your character is changing.

Why is Ophelia so upset in act 2 Scene 1? ›

She is upset by a recent interaction she had with Hamlet. He entered her room in a state of undress, grabbed her by the wrist, and would not let go until she physically resisted. He did not speak to her. Polonius believes this madness to be brought about by Hamlet's love for Ophelia.

What are three things Macbeth reveals in his soliloquy act 2 Scene 1? ›

In this case, Macbeth's soliloquy reveals the true state of his mind. He ponders if the daggers are from his feverish mind. He mentions nightmares and wolves – he recalls the story of Tarquin and relates that story to his own situation.

Does Troy cheat on Rose? ›

Answer and Explanation: Yes, Troy cheats on Rose in the play Fences. He fathers a baby with his mistress, Alberta, and has to tell Rose about the affair when he finds out this news.

Did Rose forgive Troy? ›

The play reaches its climax when Troy's affair is revealed, and his wife Rose and son Cory must decide between forgiveness or resentment. Rose forgives Tory and raises his mistresses's baby as her own, while Cory struggles to forgive his father for his multiple infractions.

Does Rose ever forgive Troy? ›

Rose rejects Troy as her partner because she takes seriously the Biblical commandment that decrees, "Thou Shalt Not Sin," but finds forgiveness for the child born to her sinful husband because of her belief that "when the sins of our fathers visit us/we don't have to play host/we can banish them with forgiveness/as God ...

How is guilt presented in Act 2 Scene 2? ›

In 'Macbeth', one of the ways in which guilt is presented is through the reoccurring image of blood. In Act 2 Scene 2, the blood on Macbeth's hands after his murder of Duncan is both literal and a metaphor for his guilt: “Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?

What is the most important event that happens in Act II? ›

Juliet proposes marriage. Friar Lawrence agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet that afternoon.

What scene is Duncan killed? ›

Act 2, scene 2.

What conflict helped drive the plot in Act Two? ›

The Crucible Act 2
Mary refuses to go to court because she fears someone. Who is this person?Abigail
There is a conflict that helps drive the plot in Act Two. Which two people have a dispute over Abigail?Proctor and Elizabeth
10 more rows

What is the conflict between the two characters? ›

character conflict, two characters have motivations, desires, needs, or beliefs that place them in opposition with each other. This type of literary conflict places characters in a situation where these motivations and beliefs are tested.

What conflict does John face at the end of Act 2? ›

John Proctor is torn because he needs to speak out against Abigail and he knows that if he does, she will reveal that they had an affair to everyone.

Who did Troy get pregnant in fences? ›

Troy admits to Rose that he has been having an affair and that his mistress, Alberta, is pregnant. Later, Alberta dies in childbirth. Troy brings his baby daughter Raynell home, and Rose agrees to raise the girl as her own, saying: "From right now . . . this child got a mother.

What killed Troy in Fences? ›

Troy has died from a heart attack when he was swinging a bat at the baseball that hangs from a tree in their yard. Cory returns home from the Marines in his uniform. Lyons also comes home to go to the funeral.

Does Troy cheat on his wife? ›

After Troy confesses to Rose that he impregnated another woman, she responds with confusion and disbelief. Rose understands human nature, so she would not have been surprised if he had cheated when he was younger—he had many admirers before they married.

Why does Troy taunt Death? ›

Troy swings the baseball bat, taunting Death to try to face him. He has a renewed belief in his strength because he defeated Cory. Troy is ready for death but he will fight a hard fight when death comes.

Who is the tragic hero in Fences? ›

Troy Maxson is a classically drawn tragic-hero. He begins the play loved, admired and getting away with his secret affair. But eventually, Troy's death leaves many negative attributes as an inheritance for his family to sort out and accept.

What does Gabriel symbolize in Fences? ›

In August Wilson's play Fences, Gabriel symbolizes Troy's wounded psyche. Gabriel believes that he is an angel. He is Troy's younger brother, who was wounded in the Second World War.

What is the main conflict in Fences? ›

Major conflictTroy and Cory's opposing views on how Cory should spend his future deteriorates after Troy prohibits Cory from playing football and going to college.

What is Wilson's message in Fences? ›

In "Fences", Wilson attempts to explain his message to the world, which implies that any race ought to protect its culture by building up invincible fences as a protection for its culture, and it is identity.

What are the 5 different themes in Fences? ›

  • Race.
  • Men and Masculinity.
  • Mortality.
  • Dreams, Hopes, Plans.
  • Family.
  • Betrayal.
  • Duty.
  • Dissatisfaction.

What is the irony in Fences? ›

The prevailing irony in Fences is that it is the protagonist himself, Troy Maxson, and not society that provides the obstacles or "fences" in his life that keep him hemmed in and unfulfilled emotionally. The fence between Troy and his wife Rose is Troy's infidelity.

What metaphor does Troy use to describe death? ›

Troy often thinks about life and death in terms of baseball. He describes Death as "a fastball on the outside corner" (1.1. 82) and claims he could always hit a homerun off this kind of pitch back in his heyday. Here he uses the idea of baseball to almost taunt Death, daring it to come for him.

What metaphors are used in Fences? ›

In Fences all the characters and events are based on the real history of American society at that time. Actually Fences is structured upon some extended metaphors: "baseball", "fences", "death", "rose" and "garden". Each one of these metaphors plays a great part to reveal meanings within meanings in the play.

What is the setting of Act II Scene V Fences? ›

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 the yard, next to a garden which she's planted; Rose calls her to get dressed for the funeral, and Raynell wonders why her garden hasn't grown.

Does Fences have a happy ending? ›

The final moments of Fences are pretty darn awesome. On the day of Troy's funeral, his brother Gabriel returns to open the gates of heaven for him...and succeeds. Gabriel suffered a head wound during World War II and now has a metal plate in his head.

What does Troy say to Death at the end of the scene? ›

17) At the end of this scene, Troy tells Death that he "can't taste nothing no more," & that "It's between you & me now! Come on! Anytime you want!" (Wilson 89).

What is the theme betrayal in Fences? ›

Fences explores many different types of betrayal. Troy Maxson manages to betray just about everyone in his life: his son, his wife, his brother, and his best friend. Pretty much every character in the play is betrayed by Troy in some way. Of course, the play does go deeper than that.

What is the theme of love in Fences? ›

Wilson uses his main character Troy to stem of four other types of relationships. He shows the complexities of marriage and love in the relationship between Troy and Troy's wife, Rose. He shows the commitment and betrayal of in the relationship between Troy and Troy's Brother, Gabriel.

What is the conclusion of Fences? ›

At the end of the play, Troy Maxson is dead and his family is gathering for his funeral at his house. We learn that Lyons, Troy's oldest son, is in jail and Cory has returned as a Colonel in the Marines. Rose is an avid church goer and has kept her promise of taking care of Raynell, Troy's daughter.

What happened in Scene 1 of Fences? ›

Bono decides to go home to Lucille and the pig feet she made for dinner. Troy embarrasses Rose by telling Bono how much he loves his wife and brags that on Monday morning when it is time for work, he'll still be making love to her.

What is the critical analysis of Fences? ›

Fences explores how the damaged aspirations of one generation can taint the dreams of the next generation on how they deal with the creation of their own identity when their role model is a full of dishonesty. Wilson illustrates his qualities primarily through his use of symbolism in the play Fences.

Why did Troy go to jail in Fences? ›

Troy was sent to jail for 15 years for accidentally killing a man during a robbery. He met and married Rose when he came out of jail. By this time, he was too old to continue his baseball career but he has blamed his ineligibility on his colour.

What happened in Act 2 Scene 3 of Fences? ›

Rose decides that the baby is innocent and shouldn't be blamed for Troy's sins, saying, "you can't visit the sins of the father upon the child this child got a mother, but you're a womanless man." She takes in Troy's baby as her own child, but refuses to honor her partnership with Troy.

What happens in Act II Scene III? ›

Romeo arrives at Friar Laurence's cell as day breaks. The Friar is collecting herbs and flowers while he postulates on their powers to medicate and to poison. Romeo tells him of his love for Juliet and asks the Friar to marry them later that day.

What happened in Act 2 Scene 4 of Fences? ›

Cory swings at Troy with a baseball bat but does not hit Troy because he would probably kill him. Troy taunts Cory and then gets the bat away from Cory in a struggle. Troy stands over Cory with the bat and kicks Cory out of the house with finality. Cory leaves, saying he'll be back for his things.

What happens at the very end of Act II Scene V Fences? ›

Troy has died from a heart attack when he was swinging a bat at the baseball that hangs from a tree in their yard. Cory returns home from the Marines in his uniform. Lyons also comes home to go to the funeral.

Who was knocking in Act 2 Scene 3? ›

Act 2, Scene 3

Summary: A porter hears knocking at the gate of Macbeth's castle. It's Macduff and Lennox, who have come to rouse Duncan. Macbeth arrives and tells them the king is still sleeping.

What does Troy ask Rose in Act 2 Scene 3? ›

Troy asks her if she'll help take care of Raynell. Rose agrees, because Raynell is innocent and doesn't deserve to suffer.

What happened in Scene 4 of Fences? ›

Cory displays his first aggressive verbal attack on Troy by saying that Troy is holding him back from his dreams because Troy is afraid that Cory will be better than Troy. Troy warns Cory that his insubordination is a strike against him and he better not "strike out."

What happens at the end of Act 2 Scene 2? ›

He eventually comes out and they talk to each other. They declare their love for each other and arrange to meet the next day when Romeo has promised to marry Juliet. The Nurse calls to Juliet from inside so the scene ends with an urgency as the lovers try to say goodbye.

What is the point of Act 2 Scene 2? ›

Here, in the famous balcony scene, Romeo and Juliet reveal their love to each other, and at Juliet's suggestion, they plan to marry. Shakespeare uses light and dark imagery in this scene to describe the blossoming of Romeo and Juliet's romance.

What happened in Scene 3 of Fences? ›

Cory goes inside to eat lunch and do his chores. Troy comes home, supposedly from Taylor's, but can't remember the score of the game. He unsuccessfully flirts with Rose, and then yells at Cory to come outside and help him with the fence. Troy reprimands Cory for going to football practice instead of doing his chores.

What year is it in Act 2 Scene 5 of Fences? ›

Stage directions tells us that it's now 1965. It's the morning of Troy's funeral. There's a funeral plaque next to the door.

What is the conflict in Act 2 Scene 4? ›

The main conflict of this scene is Mercutio teasing Romeo about how happy and excited he is. Also Romeo has the Nurse deliver a message to Juliet about where to meet to be married.

What does the fence symbolize to Troy at the end of the scene? ›

The fence appears finished only in the final scene of the play, when Troy dies and the family reunites. The wholeness of the fence comes to mean the strength of the Maxson family and ironically the strength of the man who tore them apart, who also brings them together one more time, in death.


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4. Fences Play Summary - Written by August Wilson
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6. Fences, Act 2, Scene 2 Lesson
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