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by August Wilson

Fences Act 1, Scene 2 Summary

  • Lights rise on Rose hanging laundry and singing to herself, "Jesus, be a fence all around me every day" (1.2.2).
  • Troy enters from the house.
  • Rose asks if he's ready for breakfast.
  • He tells her he's already put the coffee on, and that's all he wants.
  • Rose tells him that Miss Pearl won a little money in the lottery the other day. She complains that the people who really need it never win.
  • Troy tells her she shouldn't mess around with the numbers – it's a waste of time.
  • Rose points out that a guy named Pope bought a restaurant out of the money he won.
  • Her husband talks about how Pope always gives the best food to white people.
  • Rose implies that he's just bringing that up because he's worried about what happened at work on Friday (when Troy complained about the racial inequality).
  • Troy ignores her and asks where their son Cory is.
  • Rose says the boy went out.
  • Troy complains that Cory is just trying to avoid helping him with the fence they're supposed to be building.
  • Gabriel comes down the alleyway. He hears Troy's voice and stops.
  • Rose tells Troy that Cory went in for some extra football practice.
  • Troy gets mad because Cory hasn't done his chores.
  • Rose tells her husband to stop complaining about everything.
  • Troy sees Gabriel in the alleyway. Stage directions tell us that Gabriel is Troy's brother.
  • He's got a metal plate in his head from injury he got in WWII. He now thinks he is the archangel Gabriel.
  • Gabriel has an old trumpet strung around his neck and is carrying a basket full of fruits and vegetables.
  • He starts to sing that he's got plums for sale.
  • Rose asks him what's in the basket.
  • It turns out Gabriel doesn't actually have any plums; he just likes to sing about them.
  • He says that tomorrow he'll have enough plums "for St. Peter and everybody" (1.2.38).
  • He thinks Troy is mad at him because he moved out of the house to live in Ms. Pearl's basement.
  • Troy says he's not mad at all.
  • Gabriel brags that he's got two rooms and his own door. He proudly shows off his key.
  • Rose asks if he wants some breakfast.
  • He tells her he just wants some biscuits.
  • He says that when he was in heaven, he and St. Peter ate biscuits every day.
  • Sometimes St. Peter would go off and sleep, telling Gabriel to wake him up if Judgment Day came.
  • Rose leaves, saying she'll make Gabriel some biscuits.
  • Gabriel tells his brother that he saw his name in St. Peter's book.
  • Troy tells him to go inside and eat.
  • Gabriel says he already ate with Aunt Jemima.
  • He tells Troy that he sold some tomatoes and now he has two quarters.
  • Soon he'll buy a new horn so that St. Peter can find him on Judgment Day.
  • Gabriel stops suddenly, thinking he hears some hell hounds.
  • He runs off after them, singing about Judgment Day.
  • Rose reenters. She says that Gabriel ought to be in a hospital, where they can take care of him properly.
  • Troy says Gabriel shouldn't be locked up.
  • He complains that his brother got half his head shot off in the war and only got three thousand dollars afterward.
  • Troy used that money to buy his house and seems to feel guilty about it.
  • Rose says he shouldn't feel bad; he took care of Gabe in the house as long Gabe wanted to be taken care of.
  • Troy starts to head out of the yard.
  • His wife asks him why he's been going off every Saturday, especially since he's supposed to be working on the fence.
  • Troy says he's going to a place called Taylors' and that he'll finish the fence later.

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