Berniece believes the piano represents the spirits of the past and should be left alone and never bothered, and is afraid to accept or embrace her family?s history. The piano represents a particularly bloody and disturbing past for her. She sees Sutter?s ghost and senses his presence, and is constantly haunted by the thought of the dead spirits coming into her life. She believes the piano stands for the bloodshed in her family?s history, and is ashamed of the violence associated with obtaining it. When encouraged to play the piano, she refuses steadfastly, saying ?that piano?s got blood on it.? She thinks that the spirits in the piano are bad, and is ashamed of the bloodshed they have caused. ?All this killing and thieving,? she exclaims. Berniece also believes the piano has strong sentimental value, and won?t agree to let go of it any way. She remembers how her mother cared so much about it. Berniece says, ?For seventeen years she rubbed on it till her hands bled....
... middle of paper ...
..., and Boy Willie finally realizes the true power and significance of the piano, the conflict is resolved.
Wilson demonstrates how one should accept and respect the past, move on with their life or slow down to pay respects to their family?s history, by describing the struggle over a symbolic object representing the past like the piano. Often people will sulk in the past and struggle with themselves and the people around them when they cannot come to terms with their personal history or a loss. Others will blatantly ignore their personal history and sell valuable lessons and pieces of it for a quick buck to advance their own lives. Berniece and Boy Willie in The Piano Lesson are great examples of these people. Through these contrasting characters and supernatural occurrences, Wilson tells the tale of overcoming and embracing a rough and unsettling family history.
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