What happens to a dream deferred?



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1English 1152 - Fences Pre-writing Assignment
“What happens to a dream deferred?” As Langston Hughes suggests, a dream deferred or surrendered can have long-lasting effects. In August Wilson’s play Fences, three main characters all fail to achieve a dream, yet the manner in which they deal with the loss determines the degree to which they are able to enjoy their lives.
In your essay, identify how each character has a dream deferred, how the character copes with the loss of the dream, and its ultimate effect on the character.

Before you begin to write the essay, you must select a total of 6 quotes, 2 for each of the main characters. One quote needs to address the dream deferred; the other quote should support its effect on the character.

As you select your quotes, write them in the appropriate section on this sheet and be sure to include the page number. When we begin writing the paper, you will be given further instructions on the format.
Troy Quote #1:

Troy Quote #2:

Cory Quote #1:

Cory Quote #2:

Rose Quote #1:

Rose Quote #2:


English 1152 – Fences Writing Template


Follow the directions below to help you complete an appropriate literary analysis paper. Although you do not have to use the teacher’s words provided in the examples, you may do so if you cannot create a version of your own that is similar to the examples.
Because this paper is a formal literary analysis, you must remember to do the following:

  1. Write in present tense, except when you discuss something that happened

before the book.

  1. Avoid 1st and 2nd person pronouns (I, me, my, you, your) unless they

appear in a quote.

  1. No slang expressions

  2. No contractions or abbreviations unless they appear in a quote

  3. 2 quotes in each body paragraph with correct quote integration & citation

  4. MLA format: header, heading, Times New Roman, 12 point font, double spaced


Thesis paragraph:
1. Start with a general grabber about the importance of dreams.
2. Create a bridge that connects this idea to the play, identifying the author and title. (August Wilson’s Fences)
3. Roadmap: Introduce each character, his or her dream and how it is deferred/lost. (1 sentence each)
4. Thesis statement is the “So what?” of the paper. Example: Through the reactions of each character to the loss of a dream, August Wilson suggests (theme here) … __________________________________________________________.
Body Paragraph on Troy:


  1. Begin with a topic sentence. Example: Wilson begins the play by introducing Troy Maxson, a man away by bitterness over his failed dreams.



  1. Explain the following in the 1st half of paragraph. Be sure to include an appropriate quote.

Explain Troy’s lifelong dreams.

How are the dreams deferred? Why has he not been able to achieve these dreams? (Think of his upbringing, racial prejudice, etc.)


  1. Transition into the 2nd half of the paragraph examining how the loss of the dream affects the character. Be sure to include a second quote to support the analysis.

How does Troy respond to the loss of the dream?

What relationships does he push away?

What attitude does he have toward the world?




  1. Concluding sentence relating to your theme


Concluding sentence example: As a result of never learning how to deal with the loss of his dream, Troy… (relate to your thesis) ________________________________________________________.


Body Paragraph on Cory:


  1. Begin with a transitional topic sentence. Example: While Troy allows frustration to destroy him, his son Cory… _______________________________________________________________________.




  1. Follow the same pattern as in the first body paragraph.

Explain Cory’s dreams in relation to sports, but mostly to his father

How are his dreams deferred? Why has he not been able to achieve these dreams? (Think of his father’s anger, the barriers Cory faces, his insecurities, etc.)


  1. Transition into the 2nd half of paragraph.

How does Cory deal with his father?

How does Cory find a substitute dream to give him meaning?

How does Cory comes to understand his father?




  1. Concluding sentence relating to your theme



Body Paragraph on Rose:


  1. Begin with a transitional topic sentence. Example: Although Rose does not achieve all of her dreams, she… _______________________________________________________.




  1. Follow the same pattern as in the previous paragraphs.

Explain Rose’s dream and the metaphor she uses to describe it.

Explain why the dream is shattered


  1. Transition into the 2nd half of paragraph.

What is Rose’s response to her broken dream? (Think of Raynell)

How does Rose try to mediate between Troy and Cory?

How does Rose embrace her new life instead of dwelling on past disappointments?




  1. Concluding sentence related to theme


Concluding Paragraph:


  1. Start with the thesis statement rephrased.




  1. Write an extension (1-2 sentences) that explains how this lesson about dreams may apply to the real world.



Examples of quote integration and citation:
1. When explaining her frustration to Troy, Rose says, "I planted a seed and watched and prayed over it. I planted myself inside you and waited to bloom. And it didn't take me no eighteen years to find out the soil was hard and rocky and it wasn't never gonna bloom" (Wilson 71).

(When you use a speaker tag such as Rose says, you must use a comma before the quote.)

2. Cory describes Troy as “a shadow that follows [him] everywhere” (Wilson 96).

(When you make the quote a natural part of your sentence, it is called informal integration and you do not need a comma. I placed him in brackets because I changed it from the original text which says you.)



3. Troy understands that “You’ve gotta take the crooked with the straights” (37).

(When you use that, you do not need a comma.)

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