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Fences

Fences

  

by August Wilson

Fences Act 1, Scene 4 Summary

  • Stage directions tell us that it's two weeks later on a Friday.
  • Cory starts out of the house, carrying his football equipment.
  • The phone rings and Cory answers.
  • It's a guy named Jesse who wants to borrow Cory's spikes (football shoes).
  • Cory tells his friend that his old spikes aren't any good.
  • Rose yells to Cory, telling him to clean up his room.
  • Cory yells back that he has to go to the game.
  • He says he'll clean his room when he gets back, then runs off.
  • Rose worries about what Troy will say if he sees Cory's messy room.
  • Troy and Bono enter.
  • Stage directions tell us that Troy is wearing something other than his work uniform.
  • Apparently he was called down to the Commissioner's office because of his complaint.
  • Bono observes that Troy ran down to Taylors' to tell Alberta about it.
  • Troy says he just went down there to cash his check.
  • His friend seems unconvinced.
  • Troy yells for his wife. She tells him not to holler at her like that.
  • Troy says a woman is supposed to come when she's called.
  • Rose replies that she doesn't have to come like a dog.
  • Her husband says he used to have a dog named Blue, who never came when called.
  • He starts to sing a little ditty about Blue.
  • Rose tells him that nobody wants to hear him sing.
  • She recalls that Cory used to sing the song when he was little.
  • Troy says his daddy used to sing the song.
  • Rose tells him she still doesn't want to hear it.
  • She says things must have gone well at the Commissioner's office, or else Troy wouldn't be in such a good mood.
  • Troy proudly announces that they've made him a driver.
  • Rose seems happy for him.
  • Lyons enters.
  • Troy acts like he isn't happy to see his son.
  • He says that he thought Lyons would be in jail, since a place where Lyons plays music got raided by the police.
  • Lyons says he was just playing music, not gambling.
  • Rose tells Lyons he should have brought his lady friend Bonnie over.
  • He says he was just in the neighborhood.
  • Troy predicts that Lyons is about to ask him for money.
  • Rose tells Lyons about Troy's promotion. Troy is going to be the first black driver.
  • Bono points out that Troy doesn't have a driver's license.
  • Troy doesn't seem to be bothered by this; by the time his boss, Mr. Rand, finds that out, he'll have one.
  • Lyons tries to pay Troy back the ten dollars he borrowed.
  • Troy stubbornly refuses to take the money, saying that Lyons should keep it for the next time he wants to borrow money.
  • Lyons gives the money to Rose.
  • Gabriel enters, singing about Judgment Day.
  • He gives a rose to Rose.
  • Proudly, he tells them that he's spent the day chasing hell hounds.
  • He's trying to make sure that everything is ready for the Battle of Armageddon.
  • Rose offers everybody some food.
  • Gabe says he wants a sandwich.
  • Lyons says he doesn't want to eat before he goes to play music tonight.
  • He invites Troy to come listen.
  • Troy says he doesn't like the kind of music Lyons plays.
  • Gabriel tells Lyons that Troy is mad at him.
  • Lyons asks what that's all about.
  • Rose replies that Gabe thinks Troy is mad because Gabe moved to Ms. Pearl's.
  • Troy says he's not mad at all, but implies that it sucks that Gabe is no longer around to help with rent.
  • Rose says she doesn't want to hear about it anymore.
  • Gabe asks if he can have the sandwich now.
  • As Rose exits, she tells her husband he should sign the paper to let Cory play football.
  • Troy is determined not to sign.
  • He says Cory has been lying to him; he hasn't kept his job at the A&P at all – not even on the weekends.
  • Troy says that once a boy is old enough to disobey his father, it's time to move on.
  • Bono says he never got a chance to disobey his father because he never knew the man.
  • Troy wishes he had never known his father, because he was selfish and mean.
  • He says all his father lived for was the cotton crop.
  • Even though his father was hard on him, Troy recognizes that the man felt a duty to his family. He thinks his father probably felt trapped by this sense of duty.
  • Even so, says Troy, his daddy was straight-up evil. The man was so bad that Troy's mother left when he was a little boy and never came back.
  • Troy talks about the day he left home. He was 14 and had started to take an interest in Joe Canewell's daughter.
  • His daddy had told him to go plow a field with a mule named Greyboy.
  • Instead, Troy tied up the mule and went to make out with Joe Canewell's daughter by a stream.
  • Greyboy got loose and wandered back to the house, so Troy's father came looking for him.
  • He found Troy and the girl by the stream.
  • Troy's father started whipping him with the leather straps from the mule.
  • At first Troy thought his daddy was just mad at him for not doing his work.
  • He was about to run off when he realized that his father just wanted the girl for himself.
  • Troy lost all fear of his daddy when he figured that out.
  • He picked up the same strap his father had just beat him with and started whipping on him.
  • The girl ran away.
  • Troy's daddy beat him senseless after that.
  • When Troy woke up, his eyes were swollen shut.
  • The dog named Blue was licking his face.
  • Troy says this was the moment he realized he had to leave his father's house.
  • Gabriel enters, eating a ham sandwich.
  • Troy says he walked all the way from the creek bed to Mobile, two hundred miles away.
  • Rose calls from the house saying that Bonnie called for Lyons, wanting him to pick her up.
  • Troy talks about how he walked from Mobile to the city they now live in, looking for work. (Note: The play is set in Pittsburgh, though none of the characters ever says so specifically.)
  • When Troy got to Pittsburgh, he couldn't find a job.
  • He lived on the riverbank in a shack made of tar paper and sticks.
  • There were a lot of other black people living there as well.
  • Troy started stealing to survive. At first he just stole food, but then he started stealing money as well.
  • During that time he met Lyons's mother.
  • Before too long, Lyons came into the world.
  • Troy recognizes that it was a bad idea to have a kid when he could barely feed himself.
  • One day he tried to rob a man. The man shot Troy in the chest and Troy killed him with a knife.
  • Troy ended up spending fifteen years in prison.
  • This is where he met Bono and learned to play baseball.
  • Troy says prison totally cured him wanting to rob people.
  • He met Rose after he got out.
  • Troy says he told Rose that the only two things he cared about were her and baseball.
  • He says he told her that baseball was the important thing, but that if she stuck around eventually it would be her.
  • Rose calls him out, saying that he told her she was the most important thing.
  • Lyons says he has to go.
  • He asks Troy to come watch him play that evening.
  • Troy makes a bunch of excuses.
  • Lyons exits.
  • Troy asks Rose what's for dinner.
  • He makes some sexually suggestive remarks.
  • Rose tells him not to talk like that.
  • Bono exits, saying he's got to get home to his wife.
  • Cory enters. He seems really pissed off.
  • The boy throws his football helmet in Troy's direction.
  • It seems that Troy told Cory's coach that Cory couldn't play football anymore.
  • Troy also told the coach to tell the college recruiter not to come.
  • Rose tells Troy that he ought to let Cory play football.
  • Troy accuses Cory of lying to him – he hasn't kept up with his chores, and he hasn't kept his job at the A&P.
  • Cory tells Troy that he never listens; he says that his boss, Mr. Stawicki, is holding his job for him until after the season.
  • Cory accuses his father of purposely holding him back out of jealousy.
  • Troy tells his son that now he's got one strike.
  • He warns the boy not to strike out.

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