The Symbolism of the Piano in The Piano
The piano has been inextricably linked with the roles and expectations of women in British society since its advent in the mid 1700s to the late 1800s when rising standards of living made it more accessible to middle class society. Pianos were regarded as "secure icons of social distinction" 1 and a wife was viewed similarly as a possession of "privatization, success and respectability."2 Pianos were instrumental in both reinforcing gender roles and as delineators of class distinction thus perpetuating the class system. 3
While concentrating primarily on Ada, this essay will discuss the symbolism of the piano in The Piano expressed through the relationship with each of the four main characters of the film. I will also comment on the piano as a colonial representation of conquest.
In one of the earliest scenes in The Piano, Ada waits with her young daughter for the arrival of her new husband and a party of Maori workers who will carry the their baggage to the house. On the empty beach in a new land, and alone w...
..., Suzy "I clipped your wing, that's all": auto-erotism and the female spectator, p.202
12 "And the wind said 'remember how we used to play?' "Then the wind took her hand and said 'come with me.' "But she refused." This story suggests a change from a compliant Flora to an independent, free-thinking Flora whose choice is her own.
13 Edmond Abat quoted in Reading Readings
14 The piano was not previously at his house so it cannot really be termed a return. Baines' comment "I'm giving it back" refers more to possession than place (http://www.123helpme.com/preview.asp?id=92780
http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Lesson-August-Wilson/dp/0452265347 Overview of the Play:
Set in Pittsburg during 1936, The Piano Lesson centers on the conflicting wills of a brother and sister (Boy Willie and Berniece) as they vie for possession of their family's most important heirloom, the piano. Boy Willie wants to sell the piano. With the...