Summary of Fences by August Wilson - OKVIX

Summary of Fences by August Wilson

Summary of Fences by August Wilson

Fences is a novel written by August Wilson. On this page, you will discover the summary of Fences by August Wilson. The novel talks about the life of Troy before his death, and how he wanted his son to choose a career different from the one his son prefers.

As you continue reading the summary of Fences by August Wilson, you will discover the characters, themes, and moral lessons.

Summary of Fences by August Wilson

Troy and Bono are two black garbage collectors who are discussing a recent action. Troy took at work, against their boss, Mr. Rand. He had approached the union to inquire as to why black men are not permitted to drive garbage trucks.

Troy is married to Rose, and Bono is married to Lucille, but Bono has an affair with another woman, Alberta. He accuses Troy of having feelings for her as well. Tony claims he was just being polite.

Rose emerges from the house, and the group discuses a variety of topics, ranging from how Troy and Rose met to whether to shop at the cheaper A & P or the more expensive independent store.

Troy believes that their son, Cory, should stay at his safe job at the A & P, whereas Rose believes that he should accept a college football scholarship. Cory, according to Troy, will be passed over in favor of white boys.

Troy’s first marriage’s son, Lyons, appears and asks for money, but Troy tells him that he is lazy and he should get a job. Lyons is a musician and does not want to work like Troy.

Troy is criticizing Rose for her lottery habit the next day when Troy’s brother, Gabriel, arrives. Troy is supposed to be constructing a fence, but has made little progress. Gabriel was injured in WWII and now has a metal plate in his head, carries a trumpet everywhere, and believes he is the Angel Gabriel.

He recently moved out of Troy’s house and is afraid that troy is upset with him, despite Troy’s assurances. Rose believes Gabriel will do well in a hospital, but Troy believes Gabriel must “free”. He then walks away, saying he will watch the game at Taylor’s.

Father and son

When he returns, Cory is there and the two start working on the fence. Cory inquires as to why the family does not have a television, and Troy responds that the cost of a television would be the same as the cost of repairing a roof.

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Troy used to play baseball but felt he was passed over because he was black. He believes Cory will be treated similarly in football. Cory is irritated and wonders why his father never liked him, to which Troy responds that no one ever told him he had to like his son.

He only needs to provide care, which he has already done. He informs his son that Cory needs to return to the A & P and that he will not sign the college recruiter’s form. Not only that, but he informs Cory that this is his first ‘strike’.

Rose criticized Troy, claiming that Cory should be successful in football. Troy refuses to see how the world is changing around him. Two weeks later, Cory leaves the house first thing in the morning with his football gear, skipping his chores.

Troy and Bono returned to inform Rose that Troy’s petition was successful, and he will now work as a truck driver. Lyons arrives to return the ten dollars he borrowed and inquires about Cory;

Troy responds that he will not sign the recruiter’s form because he has checked with the A & P and discovered that Cory is still not working there. He claims that his own life was difficult, and that others should expect to work as well.

Lyons invites Troy’s father to come and watch him play music, but Troy declines. Cory then returns enraged: Troy has gone to his football coach, and informed him that Cory can no longer play football.

Family problem

Troy is summoned to jail the next morning to bail out Gabriel. He and Bono work on the fence again, halfheartedly. While some people build fences to keep people out, Bono suggests that Rose wants this fence to keep all the people she cares about in.

He also, gentle, reminds Troy not be a fool and prefer Alberta, with whom he is having an affair, over Rose. Troy becomes enraged, blaming Alberta for the affair and telling Bono to focus on his own marriage – his wife, Bono’s Lucille, has been requesting a refrigerator for some time.

When Troy finishes his fence, Bono says he will buy the refrigerator. After Jim has left, Troy informs Rose that he is going to be a ‘daddy’. Rose is astounded that Troy, after eighteen years of marriage, would have a child with another woman.

Rose tries to be gentle with Gabriel as he arrives in the middle of the conversation, but she is still reeling from Troy’s revelation. When Troy’s says he can’t give up Alberta, because she makes him laugh and happy. Troy grabs Rose’s arm during the argument, and Cory punches him. This is his second ‘punishment’

Six months later, Alberta is in the hospital and about to give birth, and Gabriel has been institutionalized. Rose claims that the papers show Troy signing papers to that effect. Troy is shocked because he can’t read and thought he signed a release form.

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The birth of Alberta

During this conversation, the hospital called to inform that Alberta has died while giving birth to a baby girl. Troy sits on the step with the baby for a while after bringing her home, and admits to the baby that he is scared.

Then, he asks Rose to take care of the baby. Rose says she will because the baby is innocent, but Troy must leave because he doesn’t have any woman anymore.

Several months later, Troy shows up, drunk, just as Rose is about to leave for church with a cake and a baby. Troy sings a song to himself about a dog named Blue. Troy plans to retire soon because, being a truck driver is a lonely job, unlike working on the back of a truck.

Bono is not going to stop drinking with him. Troy observes that their wives have both received what they desire: Lucille’s refrigerator and Rose’s fence. When Cory returns home, Troy sits in the middle of the steps and takes offense when Cory does not say “Excuse me” when attempting to pass.

They argue, which leads to a dispute in which Troy threatens his son with a Baseball bat and orders him to leave his house, which he has paid for. He said he will put Cory’s belongings on the other side of the fence.

Troy dies when Raynell is seven years old, and the family gathers for his funeral. Lyons served time in prison for cashing other people’s checks, and Cory served in the Marine Corps. Cory says he won’t go to the funeral, but Rose says his father always tried to do the right thing by himself, even if he didn’t always do it the right way.

Towards the end of the summary of Fences by August Wilson

Raynell asks Cory if he knows Blue, the dog from Troy’s song, and the two sing it together. Gabriel appears just before the funeral begins, saying that it is finally time to open the gate of heaven for Troy.

When he tries to blow his trumpet, however, it does not make a sound, and Gabriel begins to make a ‘Atavistic’ sound of disbelief and pain.

Nonetheless, Heaven’s gate open for Troy.

Characters of Fences

  • Troy Maxon
  • Rose Maxon
  • Jim Bono
  • Lucille
  • Cory Maxon
  • Lyons Maxon
  • Gabriel
  • Alberta
  • Blue
  • Raynell Maxon

Troy Maxon

Troy is the husband to Rose. He is a garbage collector and a friend to Bono. He had a child with Alberta.

Rose Maxon

Rose is the wife of Troy. She had to leave Troy because he cheated on her and had another child with another woman.

Jim Bono

Bono works as a garbage collector. He is married to Lucille. He is the friend of Troy.


She is the wife of Bono. Her desire in the novel was to get a refrigerator, which she got.

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Cory Maxon

Cory is the son of Troy. Rose is his mother. He prefers to play football instead of baseball.

Lyons Maxon

Lyons is the son of Troy. He was given birth in Troy’s first marriage, and he is a musician.


Gabriel is the brother of Troy. He is a soldier and had a head injury during a war. This head injury requires that a metal plate be implanted into his head.


Alberta is the lady Troy is having an affair with, despite Troy being married to Rose. She died while giving birth to a child named Raynell.


Blue is the name of a dog from Troy’s song.

Raynell Maxon

Raynell is the daughter of Troy and Alberta. Her mother died while she was giving birth to her. She was seven years old when her father, Troy, died.

Mr. Rand

Troy and Bono’s boss at the Sanitation Department, who doubted that Troy would win his discrimination case.

Miss Pearl

Miss Pearl is Gabe’s landlady at his new apartment.

Themes in fences

The Fences themes are:

  • Abuse
  • Family duty
  • Racism


Troy started to abuse his marriage when he was having a secret affair with Alberta. He also, abused his son because his son could not be convinced to follow his father’s preferred career.

Family duty

The protagonist, Troy, was not able to perform his family duty properly. He was the key to the ending of his marriage with Rose. He cheated while married to Rose, which is not part of his family duty.


In the novel, not everyone is allowed to drive a garbage truck. Some are treated as second class citizen. There is high level of racism there. Mr. Rand could not believe that troy would win his discrimination case.

Who is the antagonist in the play Fences

The antagonist in the play, Fences, is Cory. He is the opposite of his father. His father keeps fighting with him till his death.

Who is the protagonist in the play Fences

The protagonist in the play, Fences, is Troy Maxon. The novel is centered on him. He is the main character of the Fences.

Why is troy a tragic hero in fences?

Troy is a tragic hero because most of his decision are wrong, which brings troubles, not only to himself but to his marriage.

Moral lessons

Troy Maxon should have focus on his family. He should have avoided having an affair with another woman, not her wife. The reason he lived a miserable life was because he lacked self-control.

Since his son prefer football, he should have allowed and support him to continue. Despite his wife, Rose, urging him to allow his son to focus on what he likes, Troy insisted.

Troy wouldn’t have been a drunkard if he had maintained his family. This novel teaches about the negative effects of having an affair with another woman while married to someone. If you avoid these negative effects, your marriage would be healthy and safe from unnecessary issues.

That’s all concerning the summary of Fences by August Wilson. If you find this content interesting, kindly share the link with your friends.

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