Fences Act 2, Scenes 4–5 Summary
by August Wilson

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Act 2, Scenes 4–5 Summary

Scene 4 

Two months later, Lyons arrives at the house and calls for Rose, who tells him to be quiet because she has just gotten Raynell, the baby, to sleep. She says that Troy will be back any moment if he wants to wait for him—he has twenty dollars to give back to him—but Lyons says he needs to pick up Bonnie, so Rose tells him to put the money on the table, and it will get to Troy. 

As Lyons is leaving, Cory arrives. Lyons asks how he is, apologizing for missing his graduation. Cory says he is trying to find a job, and Lyons suggests he talk to Troy.

Cory goes outside and begins swinging a baseball bat. Troy arrives just as Rose is leaving for church with Raynell and a cake for a bake sale. Rose tells Troy that his twenty dollars from Lyons is on the table. She refuses to tell Troy when she will be back and tells him dinner is on the stove. Then she leaves.

Troy sits on the steps, takes out a bottle of gin, and is singing to himself when Bono enters the yard. Bono has not visited for "a month of Sundays," having been unable to catch up with Troy since his promotion. Troy says he is thinking about retiring, because driving is lonely, unlike working at the back of the truck. He asks how Lucille is, and Bono says that she is all right, although her arthritis has been flaring. He turns down Troy's offer of gin, saying he is on his way to Skinner's to play dominoes.

Lucille has told Rose that Bono finally bought her a new refrigerator, and Rose has told Lucille that Troy finally built his fence. Bono says they can therefore "call it even." He leaves.

Cory enters and tells Troy he needs to pass him. Troy is in the middle of the steps and tells Cory that this is his house. He tells Cory to say "excuse me," and the pair begin a scuffle.

Cory tells Troy that he isn't scared of him. Troy asks whether Cory plans simply to walk over him, and Cory says that he no longer needs to say "excuse me" to Troy, because he no longer counts in the household. He tells Troy again to get out of his way.

Troy tells Cory that he has spent seventeen years worrying about Cory. He tells him to act like a man and leave the house, which Troy has worked and paid for. Cory says that Troy has never given him anything; he has only held him back and made him afraid. He says that Rose, too, is scared of Troy.

Troy is furious, advancing toward Cory, who tells him he is just an old man and cannot hurt him. Troy says that Cory is "just another nigger on the street" to him. He tells Cory to get out of his yard, and Cory picks up the baseball bat and begins swinging it at Troy. The pair struggle over the bat, and Troy triumphs, holding it over Cory. He tells Cory to get out of his house.

Cory gets up, leaves, and says to tell Rose he will be back for his things. Troy says he will leave them on the outside of the fence.

Troy assumes a batting posture and begins to taunt Death, telling him it is "between you and me now!" He says he is ready for Death, but he won't "go easy."

Scene 5

It is 1965, on the morning of Troy's funeral. Rose, Lyons, and Bono are gathered in the garden when Raynell, in a flannel nightgown, emerges and begins poking around, saying that she wants to see if her garden has grown yet.

Rose tells her to give it a chance and it will grow. In the meantime, Raynell must come in and get ready.

Cory arrives in a Marine corporal's uniform, carrying a duffel bag. He asks Raynell if her mother is home. Raynell does not recognize Cory.

Rose is shocked to see Cory, and the pair embrace. Rose cries, not having expected Cory to make it. She says that Gabriel is still in the hospital, and it is unclear whether he will be able to come.

Rose reminds Raynell that Cory is her brother. She tells everyone to come into the house for breakfast, but Cory says he doesn't want anything. Rose exits with Raynell.

Lyons asks whether Cory is thinking about getting married. He and Bonnie have been separated for...

(The entire section is 1,151 words.)