Essay Topics For The Piano Lesson

Essay on Lessons from The Piano Lesson by August Wilson

965 Words4 Pages

What should one do with their legacy, and how should it be put to use? In the play “The Piano Lesson”, the Charles' family faces this question, and struggles to find the answer. The family’s legacy is in the form of a piano. On the piano are carvings of their ancestors. The two main characters that are having a conflict over the piano are Berniece and Boy Willie. Boy Willie wants to sell the piano so he can add the proceeds of the sale to the proceeds of selling watermelon’s and buy some land from “Sutter”. Berniece doesn’t want to sell the piano because it holds the memories and blood that stains its wood (Gale, 2000, p255). She refuses to play the piano and keeps its history from her daughter in fear of calling up the spirits that…show more content…

Boy Willie, however, wants to release the past and sell the family piano so he can have a new start in life and forget the painful past. "The Piano Lesson" is both unique to the plight of African-Americans and universal in its depiction of the human condition (Gale, 2000, p249). The sibling rivalry, past history versus present time and future, storytelling and gender relationships all cross both unique and universal boundaries. To illustrate, even in today's society there are sibling rivalry that pit brother against sister, brother against brother or sister against sister together to the point of bitter battle. In addition, there are still people in today's society that have difficulties in resolving painful past experiences with the present and future. In regards to gender relationships, there are still a lot of mysteries in the realm of love between two people. Bernice is the African-American way, staying true to her roots and not parting with the heritage. Although she finds this painful, she will not part with her heritage. Her heritage is “tangible in the presence of the piano itself” (Sparknotes, 2014). Therefore, even though the theme of this play surrounds itself around African-Americans, the situation can easily be applied to all races and time periods.

Ghosts haunt this troubled family as well. Several characters see the ghost of Mr. Sutter, the man who probably murdered the father of Berniece and

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Storytelling proves to be one of the most powerful elements of information transfer throughout the play. Choose one story that was told during the course of the play, explain the story's significance, and discuss how this story is an example of the importance of storytelling in the Charles family culture.

Storytelling proves to be one of the most powerful elements of information transfer throughout the play. Choose one story that was told during the course of the play, explain the story's significance, and discuss how this story is an example of the importance of storytelling in the Charles family culture.

The women in this play are portrayed as weak in comparison to the men in the play. Choose one female character in the play and give two examples of the ways that they are overpowered by the male characters. Then, discuss the female character's reaction to the overpowering male characters.

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