Essay on Critique of The Piano Lesson

Essay on Critique of The Piano Lesson

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Critique of The Piano Lesson
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The Piano Lesson is a masterpiece in itself, earning a Pulitzer Prize in 1990. However, this particular play has elements not typical of modern plays. It has the quintessential plot that encompasses a conflict. On the surface, the conflict is between Boy Willie and his sister, Bernice. However, beneath that conflict, lies the symbolism of the characters. Boy Willie symbolizes the American way or the white man's culture. 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. Within the presence of the piano, August Wilson firmly states his convictions about what it means for black people to assimilate into American society. It means they have to give up their black culture in the ways of music, speech, heritage and community. As expected, Wilson sympathizes with the character of Bernice because he is unwilling to part with his culture and folkways just as Bernice refuses to give up her piano. Boy Willie must fight Sutter's ghost to rid the family of the dark and painful past they share. Bernice must play the piano to face her heritage, thereby accepting the slavery of her grandparents, not dismissing it. The main theme here is not to forget their past, but rather to confront it. Wilson sets his characters free from painful memories of slavery via the lessons learned from the piano's existence. Wilson renders a tight thesis about how African-Americans struggle to assimilate into the mainstream yet retain their inherent sub-culture.
Wilson is an author of meaningful words. His portrayal of African-American lineag...


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...on, conviction and resolve topped my mind. This play gets you to think about the society in which you live, whether you consciously do so or not. It is thought-provoking to say the very least! Not only do you find yourself replaying the scenes in your mind, but you must come to your own resolve about them. You will find yourself immersed in the plight of the slaves, their children and generations to come. This play stays with you for a long time after the curtain falls. The soulful cry of the music will haunt you, too, if you resist! I say that because the human spirit has no color or prejudice. It is the tie that binds us all. We all have the same spirit from the same maker, no matter how we chose to address or express it. And that spirit will not be deterred by anything because it is eternal. We are all cut from the same piece of cloth, whether we like it or not.

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