Analysis: The Piano Lesson by August Wilson

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August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, tells a story of a family haunted by the pain of their past and their struggle to find peace to move forward. The story begins with character Boy Willie coming up from the south visiting his sister Bernice. Boy Willie introduces the idea of selling the family’s heirloom, a piano, to raise enough money to buy the land on which his ancestors were enslaved. However, both Boy Willie and his sister Berniece own half a half of the piano and she refuses to let Boy Willie sell it. Through the use of symbolism, Wilson uses his characters, the piano and the family’s situation to provide his intended audience with the lesson of exorcising our past in order to move forward in our lives. Our past will always be a part of our lives, but it does not limit or determine where we can go, what we can do, or who we can become. The piano held symbolic significance in the story of the family and their struggle to move forward. The piano represents the importance and value of slaves during slavery. Slaves were traded for objects during slavery. Slaves were of no importance to their slave owners. As Doaker says in the story “now she had her piano and her niggas too”, meaning slaves were nothing more than an accessory to their slave owners (Wilson 395). Doaker sarcastically speaks of how slaves were not considered humans but property. As Sandy Alexandre states in her work, “Property and Inheritance in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson”, “Doaker sees greed where there should be something like repulsion or at least a semblance of hesitation to accept such an ill-begotten gift”(77). Alexandre argues slaves are not given the proper respect and are not considered equal. This specific event from the story shows how little to ... ... middle of paper ... ...nt. Knowing where you come from and making use of your history is an important part of accepting who you are. Works Cited Alexandre, Sandy. ""The Things What Happened with Our Family":Property and Inheritance in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson." Project MUSE. Modern Drama, Spring 2009. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. Chen, Meng-fei. Reconstructing Black Identities in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. Thesis. National Chengchi University, 2002. NCCU Institutional Repository. Web. 28, Apr. 2014. Marable, Ingrid A. The Women of August Wilson and a Performance Study and Analysis. Thesis. University of Central Florida, 2009. Web.28 Apr. 2014. Wen, Hui Ying. Thesis. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005. MIT OpenCourseWare. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. Wilson, August. "The Piano Lesson." Drama: A Pocket Anthology. Ed. R. S. Gwynn. 5th ed. New York: Pearson, 2012. 362-442. Print.

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