(English III) Act One Scene 1 Fences Study Guide- Jaren Katz

What was happening in 1957 in the novel fences?
In 1957, European Immigrants were working in factories for the industrial powers in America.

War had been confronted and won with new energies that used loyalty and patriotism as its fuel, and life was promising.

The Milwaukee Braves won the World Series and times were about to change.

Describe Troy and compare him to Bono?
Troy is 53 years old, he is a large man with thick heavy hands, and he uses his largeness to make his choices in life. Bono on the other hand is Troy’s loyal follower who is 30 years old.

Bono looks up to Troy’s honesty, capacity for hard work, and his strength, which he himself wishes to emulate.

What is the ritual of Friday nights for Troy and Bono?
(aka “payday”) On Friday Nights, the two men engage in a ritual of talking and drinking.
What do we learn about Troy and Bono from the story of the man “hiding” the watermelon from Mr. Rand?
We learn that Troy and Bono are garbage collectors who work on the back of trucks and are all upset about the differences in job duties that Mr. Rand institutes. We also learn that the times at the start of the book are very racist.
What does Troy do for a living?
Troy’s career is a garbage collector on the back of a garbage truck.
What does Troy say that he wants to see change when he went to see his boss or the union?
Troy wants the union to change the job description, where everybody has a chance to drive the truck.
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According to Bono, how does Troy’s relationship with Alberta differ from the others?
According to Bono, Troy’s relationship with Alberta is different from others. Troy is supposedly eyeing this girl.
What do we learn about Troy from the conversation he has with Bono about Alberta?
We learn that Troy is known for chasing women and he has a wife named Rose.
Who is Rose and how is her relationship with Troy described?
Rose is Troy’s wife, and her relationship with troy is described by this:

Rose is ten years younger than Troy, She recognizes Troy’s spirit as a fine and illuminating one and she either ignores or forgives his faults.

She doesn’t drink and she is an essential presence in their friday night rituals.

Describe the interaction between Rose and Troy—as they discuss how they met?
Troy says he met this woman and latched onto her and said,”Baby I don’t wanna marry, but I want to be your man.”

Rose in response said,”N*****, you in my way, you blocking the view! Move out the way so I can find me a husband.”

What is the significance of Rose saying,”There’s a lot of people don’t know they can do no better than they doing now”?
Rose’s comment that some people don’t know that they can better themselves, foreshadows Troy’s actions in keeping Cory from pursuing his dreams.
(pg. 7) Why does Troy shop at Bella’s (a grocery store owned by a single person) rather than shopping at the A&P (a major grocery store—like Ralph’s or Vons)? Also why does Rose not like shopping at Bella’s?
Troy shop’s at Bella’s because he is treated right over there, when he wants to buy a loaf of bread, Bella allows him to pay her back the money he didn’t have when he came into buy the loaf of bread. Rose on the other hand does not like shopping at Bella’s because she overcharges.
(pg. 8) Who is Cory? And what do we learn about him (where he works and what he wants to do with his life)?
Cory is Troy’s youngest son, he works down at the A&P, and he wants to be recruited by a college football team and hopes to play in the NFL.
(pg. 8) What does Troy want Cory to learn in order to make a living?
Troy wants Cory to learn how to fix cars or something else, where he can make a living.
(pg. 9) What does Bono mean when he tells Troy: “Times have changed, Troy. You just come along too early”?
Bono means that Troy was born too early, at a time where they didn’t allow blacks to play in the Major Leagues. But now, after Jackie Robinson came into the League, times have changed and more blacks have a better chance to play in sports with the whites.
(pgs. 10-12) When did Troy come close to experiencing death? What is ironic and significant about Troy’s description of Death?
Troy came close to experiencing death when he was down with pneumonia at Mercy Hospital.

Troy’s story about wrestling with Death is significant because it parallels the Biblical story of Jacob, who wrestled with an angel, and refused to give in even though the angel injured his thigh, and insisted that the angel bless him.

This parallel suggests that an important aspect of Troy’s struggle for success is the same struggle he faces with what seems to be God’s will, the way he feels he has shaped God’s will to fit his own, and the way that by his actions, such as bringing his illegitimate daughter into his home, he virtually demands blessings from God.

Who is Lyons? Describe his relationship with his father, Troy?
Lyons is Troy’s 34 year old son from an earlier marriag. His relationship with his father is not pleasant because, Lyons asks for money or $10, usually every friday because he can’t make it on his own.
What is the significance of Troy’s story about the devil?
Troy’s story about his deal with the devil, in which he describes the somewhat shady deal he made to get his furniture, functions on a couple of levels.

First, it mirrors his relationship with Rose in that he wanted the furniture so badly, that he compromised himself financially. In the same way that he wanted Rose so badly, he compromised his own powerful sexual appetites, which are mentioned in his conversation with Bono and revealed to be still very present when Troy’s affair with Alberta results in her pregnancy.

Second, the story of the devil represents how Troy compromised his ambitions of playing baseball to earn a living. Again, this foreshadows Troy’s actions when he insists that Cory do the same thing.

According to Troy, why doesn’t he have any extra money?
Troy doesn’t have any extra money because, Gabe moved to Miss Pearl’s and Troy has to pay for his rent.
Who physically gives Lyons the ten dollars he asks for? Why?
Rose physically gives Lyons the ten dollars because, Troy won’t give it to him
What does Troy’s roundabout way of giving money to Lyons reveal?
Troy’s roundabout way of giving money to Lyons reveals a key element of his character: his sense of responsibility towards his family. In spite of his protestations that Lyons needs to get a job, Troy still feels responsible for him and makes sure Lyons gets the money he needs even in a roundabout way.

This scene therefore functions on two levels. First, it foreshadows his actions later in the play when he brings Alberta’s daughter home to live with him and Rose.

Second, it reveals a key contradiction within Troy’s character.

How would you describe Troy and Rose’s relationship at the end of Scene One?
At the end of Scene 1, Troy and Rose’s relationship is uneasy. Troy wants to make love to her and loves her so much that he’s run out of ways of loving her. But, Rose does not feel the same.
Tony and Bono get together on the Friday night on which Fences begins. What is their reason for doing so?
To drink beer and talk.
Earlier in the day, what had one of Troy and Bono’s co-workers been caught doing?
Trying to steal a watermelon.
On the day the play begins, what did the boss do when he caught Troy and Bono’s co-worker doing something wrong?
He did nothing.
On the day the play begins, what does Troy confront his boss about?
About why black men weren’t allowed to drive trucks.
What does Bono say about Alberta?
Bono says that Troy has been spending a lot of time with her.
What does Troy say about Alberta?
Troy says that Alberta is sexy, but he hasn’t been with her.
What does Troy say about his faithfulness to Rose?
Troy says he has been faithful to Rose.
When Rose appears in Act 1, why does Bono say he doesn’t want to stay for dinner?
Bono says he has to get home to his woman.
Why does Troy tell Rose to go back inside?
Troy says he and Bono are talking man talk.
Instead of going back inside as Troy asks her to, what story does Rose (with Troy’s help) tell Bono?
They tell Bono about how Rose talked Troy into marrying her.
What does Bono say about his first home in response to Rose and Tony talking about their home?
He says it was lousy and he doesn’t know why he stayed there as long as he did.
What does Rose say about the possibility of improving one’s life?
She says that some people don’t know that improving their lives is possible.
What argument do Rose, Troy, and Bono have about grocery stores?
Whether you should shop where you get a good deal or where they know you.
Where does Cory work?
At the supermarket
Why does Troy say that he’s not impressed that Cory’s being scouted by a football recruiter?
Because there’s no money to be made by black men playing sports.
What sport does Bono say Troy excelled at?
What is Troy’s response to Rose’s argument that times have changed?
Troy takes a long drink of beer
What prompts Troy to tell a long story about how he saw Death in person?
Rose tells Troy he’s going to drink himself to death.
What do Rose and Bono say about Troy’s long stories?
That they are different every time
When Lyons shows up, what does Troy correctly think he wants?
That Lyons wants to borrow money/$10
What does Troy say that he has to do because he is afraid of the devil?
Pay off some furniture
What does Troy say about the fact that Lyons wants to be a musician?
Troy says Lyons needs to earn a living so he can keep playing.
Where does the money come from that Rose gives Lyons?
From Troy’s pay