According to the text, “Boy Willie is thirty years old. He has an infectious grin and a boyishness that is apt for his name. He is brash and impulsive, talkative and somewhat crude in speech and manner”. This was shown when he argues with his sister, Berniece, constantly. She had a great deal of sentimental value within that piano, but Boy Willie was very tenacious about selling it despite his sister’s wishes. He got himself into a quite a situation, and it isn’t until the very end that it was resolved. Sutter’s ghost begins to start attacking Boy Willie after he tries to take the piano out of the house. The ghost doesn’t subside until Berniece plays the piano and calls the spirits of their family to rid of Sutter’s ghost. After all, this symbolizes the true value of the piano and their ancestry.
Berniece’s action is more ethical because a family’s history can never replace a land. In one of their arguments, Berniece tells Boy Willie, “ ‘Money can’t buy what that piano cost. You can’t sell your soul for money’ ” (50). Berniece is trying to open up Boy Willie’s mind by telling him that their family’s legacy can seize their imaginations after years, decades, and centuries of blissfulness and sorrow. Each of their ancestor’s stories is a great novel that really happened, even if it is a good or a bad chapter.
The Piano Lesson written by August Wilson is a work that struggles to suggest how best African Americans can handle their heritage and how they can best put their history to use. This problem is important to the development of theme throughout the work and is fueled by the two key players of the drama: Berniece and Boy Willie. These siblings, who begin with opposing views on what to do with a precious family heirloom, although both protagonists in the drama, serve akin to foils of one another. Their similarities and differences help the audience to understand each individual more fully and to comprehend the theme that one must find balance between deserting and preserving the past in order to pursue the future, that both too greatly honoring or too greatly guarding the past can ruin opportunities in the present and the future.
Miller states, " . . . the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life . . . to secure one thing, his sense of personal dignity" (1021). Willie is no exception. Willie's sense of personal dignity is primarily found in his family, most notably his son Biff. Willie transfers his dreams of being great onto Biff and, when Biff is a failure in the world, these dreams affect Willie's self-image and sense of personal dignity. To regain this personal dignity, Willie must make Biff great. In the end, it is the love for his son and the belief that his insurance money will make Biff "magnificent" that give him the needed excuse and cause him to end his life.
...s the more sympathetic of the two. The struggles that Willie experienced got the better of him. Willie overworked himself and could not offer much because of his low income. In addition, Willie received no help from his two sons, and even lost his job. Willie’s constant hardship in maintaining his home caused him to end his life. On the other hand, Troy did not have it as difficult as Willie did. Troy received help in paying for his home, and unlike Willie, Troy received a promotion that further made him more financially successful. The relationship between father and son could be difficult. The struggles that both Willy and Troy experienced is what caused them to have expectations. Undoubtedly, Willie had to endure more hardships because of the lack of help.
At the beginning of the play it is evident that he cannot determine the realities of life, and so he repeatedly contradicts himself to establish that his conclusion is correct and opinion accepted. These numerous contradictions demonstrate that Willy is perturbed of the possibility that negative judgements may come from others. Willy strongly believes that “personality always wins” and tells his sons that they should “be liked and (they) will never want”. In one of Willy’s flashbacks he recalls the time when his sons and him were outside cleaning their Chevy. Willy informs Biff and Happy the success of his business trips and how everyone residing in Boston adores him. He mentions that due to the admiration of people he does not even have to wait in lines. He ultimately teaches his sons that being liked by others is the way to fulfilling one’s life and removing your worries. These ideals, that one does not need to work for success, demonstrate Willy’s deluded belief of achieving a prosperous life from the admiration and acceptance of others. This ultimately proves to be a false ideology during his funeral, when an insufficient amount of people arrive. Willy constantly attempts to obtain other’s acceptance through his false tales that depict him as a strong, successful man. In the past, he attempts to lie to his wife, Linda, about the amount of wealth he has attained during his
though in the end, he is overcome by the forces of knowledge. Willie did not
Willy is a salesman trying to find success in a country known for its endless amount of opportunities. He grows up seeing how successful his brother, Ben, has become and because of this he is determined to succed in his lifetime. He wants to show his family that they can achieve whatever they put their mind to. Willy sees the American dream as the ability to become prosperous by the amount of individuals that like him. It is easily shown that he feels personality, not hard work and improvement, is the key to living a successful life. “You and Hap and I, and I’ll show you all the towns… And they know me, boys, they know me up and down New England. The finest people. And when I bring you fellas up, there’ll be open sesame for all of us, ‘cause one thing, boys: I have friends. I can park my car in any street in New England, and the cops protect it like their own…” (Miller 24). Willy always raised his kids to think being popular and well liked was most important. He told them that if they had those two traits t...
Miller’s use of personification and symbolism in the book shows the situational irony that surrounds Willy. This highlights the overall message of blind faith towards the American Dream. The major case of irony in the book is Willy’s blind faith in the American Dream. This belief is that if one is well-liked, they will become successful. The truth is actually completely opposite. The real belief is that if one works hard, with no regard to how well liked they are, they will be successful. This relationship is shown between Willy and his neighbor Charley. While Willy believes likability is the only way to success, Charley works hard and does not care how people think of him. Through his hard work, Charley started his own business, and is now very successful. Willy, however, ends up getti...
This novel is mainly about the rise and fall of the political figure Willie Stark told through the eyes of his business associate and friend Jack Burden. Willie stark in his early political career is all for helping the people and trying to do what is best for them. As he gains power and the trust of his people he soon becomes corrupt by the evils of success.