Mental Illness in Fences

9th Grade English

Monik Marte



For the past few weeks, we read Fences and we have analyzed multiple social issues that arise in this play. For this project, we will focus on only one social issue that is evident in the 1950's but is still relevant today.




You are an advocate for people with mental illnesses and you are preparing to deliver a Public Service Announcement (PSA) about the importance of treating people with mental illnesses with dignity and respect. You will create a google slide presentation where you will highlight why the mistreatment of people with mental illnesses is such a huge problem in our society and how it can be solved.




To complete this task, you will use the six steps of the Public Policy Analyst (PPA). Keep in mind that each step will require you to fill out a worksheet. These worksheets will be posted on Google Classroom. You have the option to work in pairs or in groups.


     Day 1: PPA Step #1

In Fences, we see how the main character, Troy, has a brother who survived war and was compensated for the injuries he suffered which resulted in a mental disability. Troy takes advantage of his brother’s situation by using his brother’s compensation money to buy himself a home and placing his brother in a home. This is an example of how people with mental illnesses are mistreated or taken advantage of in our society today. For this step, you will explain how mistreating or taking advantage of people with mental illnesses is a huge problem in our society. Feel free to use your own personal experience, research, and evidence from the text to support your claim. Use the following worksheet to brainstorm:

      Define the Problem Worksheet

      You may also use the Spanish Version as reference


     Day 2: PPA Step #2

For this step, you will conduct research and find at least three different types of evidence to prove that the problem we have identified exists. I have some resources you can use including a recent incident that occurred in our city. Feel free to conduct your own research if the resources provided do not aid in your project. If you do your own research, make sure you confirm the information is valid. You can click here to find out how to evaluate websites. As you conduct your research, fill out the following worksheet:

      Gather the Evidence Worksheet

      You may also use the Spanish Version as reference


     Day 3: PPA Step #3

Yesterday’s research may have hinted at what is causing or what is contributing to the problem. Review those resources and identify the causes and factors that contribute to the issue. If you can't find the causes, then continue researching to find them. Record your evidence on the following worksheet:

      Identify the Causes Worksheet

      You may also use the Spanish Version as reference


     Day 4: PPA Step #4

For today, you will take your research a bit further. You will look into existing policies that are meant to address your problem. Do you think these policies are effective in fixing the problem? Do they need to be changed? Keep these questions in mind as you research and fill out the following worksheet:

      Evaluate an Existing Policy Worksheet

      You may also use the Spanish Version as reference


     Day 5: PPA Step #5

 Taking into account all research you did in the previous 2 days, what are alternative solutions to the issue? Make sure to provide original solutions at the level of your problem.

      Develop Solutions Worksheet

      You may also use the Spanish Version as reference


     Day 6: PPA Step #6

Now that you have come up with some solutions, today you will evaluate which one is the best. There are two components that make up a great solution: Feasibility and Effectiveness. Make sure your solution is realistic/achievable enough to be implemented in our society. Fill the following worksheet to help you determine your best solution:

      Select the Best Solution Worksheet

      You may also use the Spanish Version as reference


     Day 7: Setting Expectations for the Project

In order to ensure you have an effective and engaging presentation, you must know the expectations for this project. Teacher will introduce students to the PSA rubric and the Google Slide Presentation Rubric. As they go over the expectations, the teacher will answer any questions students may have. If there is time, students will start planning their presentations.


     Day 8: Planning your Presentation

In order to ensure you have an effective and engaging presentation, your group must first agree on how you will distribute the workload. By the end of today’s class, your group must provide a proposal that highlights what will be included in your presentation to bring it to life and engage the audience.


     Days 9 and 10: Finalizing your Presentation

For the next 2 days, you will practice for your presentations and finish the final touches for your presentation. Make sure to keep the rubrics in mind to ensure your presentation is heading towards the right direction.


     Days 11 and 12: Presentations

Students will present their work. The audience will use this feedback form as a way to evaluate their peers’ presentations.




Fences by August Wilson


Mental disorders


Americans with Disabilities Act


The Rehabilitation Act of 1973


What We Know About Jordan Neely’s Killing


‘It’s a failure of the system’: before Jordan Neely was killed, he was discarded


A man with mental illness died after 20 days in solitary confinement. Did the jail system fail him?

Reports Show People With Disabilities Are Abused In State Care




This is the rubric that will be used to evaluate your google slide presentation.

This is the rubric that will be used to evaluate the content of your PSA.




For the past few weeks, you analyzed the negative effects that come from mistreating people with mental illnesses. You also followed the PPA steps in order to further your research and find ways to address these issues. My hope is that after this project, you will advocate for people with mental illnesses. That you no longer be a bystander if you witness any sort of mistreatment or discrimination towards them.





9-10W1: Write arguments to support claims that analyze substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

9-10W1a: Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from counterclaims, establish and organize clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaim(s), reasons, and evidence.

9-10W1b: Develop claim(s) and counterclaims in a balanced manner, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both, anticipating the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.

9-10W1c: Use precise language and content-specific vocabulary to express the appropriate complexity of the topic.

9-10W1d: Use appropriate and varied transitions to make critical connections and distinctions, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.

9-10W1e: Provide a concluding statement or section that explains the significance of the argument presented.

9-10W1f: Maintain a style and tone appropriate to the writing task.

9-10W6: Conduct research to answer questions, including self-generated questions, or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate. Synthesize multiple sources, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.