Overview: We will be reading the play out loud either as a class or in your study groups. Each student will be responsible for responding to a series of writing prompts after reading each scene

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American Literature / Johnson

“Fences” by August Wilson

Journal Instructions
We will be reading the play out loud either as a class or in your study groups. Each student will be responsible for responding to a series of writing prompts after reading each scene. The responses to these prompts will be kept in a journal which you will turn in at the completion of reading the play. Your completed journal will be worth 100 points.
Choose only one from each scene and respond. Be sure to label each journal entry with the Act and Scene#
Act 1:1 (pp.1-20)
Troy and Bono’s friendship is founded on Bono’s admiration of Troy’s honesty, capacity for hard work, and his strength. What 3 characteristics do you most admire and seek in a friend? List the qualities, and then write a brief explanation for each as to why it is so important to you.
It is 1957, and Troy is skeptical about how far the “white man” is going to let Cory go with football. Imagine the Fences is set in our time. Do you think Troy’s response to Rose’s news would be any different? Write out what you think Troy’s response would be.
Act 1:2 (pp.21-28)
Do you agree with Troy that lotteries take advantage of the poor? Pretend that your state is in the middle of a heated debate on whether to have or dispense with a lottery. A local newspaper has invited people to send in letters expressing their opinions on the subject. Write a letter, making sure to include both your opinion and you reasoning behind it.
Although he doesn’t mention it, Rose intuitively senses that Troy is worried about what happened at work yesterday. In 1-2 paragraphs, describe a time when you were able to sense what someone was thinking even though he or she didn’t speak of it directly. How could you tell what was really on that person’s mind?
Act 1:3 (pp.29-40)
Troy is reluctant to buy things on credit. How do you feel about buying things you don’t yet have the money for? Are credit cards liberating in that they don’t limit us to what we can afford at a given moment—or are they a trap? Explain your answer.
When Troy insists that Cory take back his after-school job instead of playing football, Cory knows that a potential college scholarship is at stake. What do you think motivates Troy to deny his son this chance? Try to consider Troy’s perspective as you respond.
Rose tells Troy that times have changed since Troy was Cory’s age. Assume that you will someday have a child. How do you think times will have changed between now and the time when your child is your current age? Make a list of at least five things that you think will be different by then. For starters, consider possible changes in the civil rights arena, the environment, politics and science.
Troy thinks that it is unreasonable for Cory to expect Troy to like him. What do you think? Assuming they are good providers, is it important for parents to also like their children? Do you feel as though your parents “should” like you simply because you are a child? Explain your answer.
Act 1:4 (pp. 41-58)
Although he has no driver’s license, Troy is entirely confident that he will be able to perform his new job duties. In a paragraph or two, describe a time when self-confidence helped you to succeed when your ability alone may not have.
When Lyons invites Troy to listen to Lyon’s band play jazz, Troy says, “I don’t like that Chinese music. All that noise.” Do your parents enjoy the music you listen to now, or prefer music from their own youths?

Answer and explain why you think they like what they do.

If, like Troy, you had to leave your family’s house and be out on your own by the age o 14, what would you do? (Assume that it would be impossible to crash at a friend’s or other relative’s house) Would you try to find a job? Do you think you’d need to steal in order to survive? In a paragraph or two, describe what you think your life would be like for your first month on your own.
Troy has spoken to Cory’s coach and had Cory removed from the team. At this point, what would you do if you were Cory?
Act 2:1 (pp.59-72)
Bono says, “Some people build fences to keep people out….and other people build fences to keep people in.” If you were to build a fence at this point in your life, which kind would build? Explain your answer.
Pretend that you are Rose and have just been told not only that your husband has fathered a child by another woman, but that he wants to continue seeing her. Taking the time period and your financial situation into account, write a journal entry exploring your feelings and what options might be.
Troy has compared facing death and now compares his married and family life to a baseball game. If you were to compare your life to a game, what game would it be? Write a poem or descriptive paragraph in which you compare your life—and how living it feels to you—to a game. Don’t feel as if your choice must be restricted to sports” board games, party games, and video games are other possibilities.
Act 2:2 (pp.73-77)
Troy, who is illiterate, thought he was signing a form that released Gabe from jail, but actually signed a form to have Gabe committed. Make a list of at least five problems you would face daily if you were an illiterate adult in today’s society.
When Troy loses Alberta, he becomes determined to build the fence around his yard to keep Death from sneaking up on him again. How do you feel as Troy’s world unravels? Do you sympathize with him or think justice is being served? Explain your answer.
Act 2:3 (pp.78-79) (only one choice)
For the first time, Troy has a daughter. From what you know of Troy’s character and the way Troy has raised and treats his sons, how do you think he will raise and treat his daughter?
Act 2:4 (pp.80-89) (only one choice)
As Cory, write a journal entry in which you explain why you found yourself unable to swing the bat.
Act 2:5 (pp.90-101)
Explain how you feel about the way Fences ends? Do you feel it was a fitting and satisfying ending?
In a paragraph, name your favorite character from Fences and explain why he or she is your favorite.

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