August Wilson’s fictional play, The Piano Lesson, takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the late 1930’s. The main characters in the play are Boy Willie and Berniece. The most prevalent themes in the novel include: family, money, and greed. The play is about Boy Willie coming back to his hometown with plans of selling the family’s piano, however his sister Berniece highly disagrees and conflicts arise. In the end, the family decides not to sell the piano and learns a valuable lesson. Boy Willie changes in an important way in the end because he realizes how symbolic the piano is to the family.
Boy Willie is the protagonist in the play. He is thirty years old and has a boyish candor. He has just come back from down South, in hopes of selling watermelons and the families piano, to buy Sutter’s land. He is described as being “brash and impulsive, talkative and somewhat crude in speech and manner.” Boy Willie is pugnacious and is always deliberately bringing up the topic of the piano, when he knows how upset it makes Bernice. Boy Willie is stubborn and selfish and no one can get through to him when he sets his mind on something. He has a cantankerous attitude and treats people the way they treat him.
Boy Willie changes in an important way in the end because h realizes how symbolic the piano is to the family. In the beginning Boy Willie was so set in selling the piano. He didn’t care about anybodies opinion but his own. A quote that reveals this is when the author states, “This is my piano. I don’t need your permission to carry my things out your house. This is mine.” This quote shows how Boy Willie thinks he’s the only one who has ownership over the piano, as if it belongs to him entirely. It also shows how childish Boy Willie acts. In the end Boy Willie decides not to sell the piano because of the impact it had on the family. A quote that shows this change is change is when the text states, “If you and Maretha don’t keep playing on that piano…ain’t no...
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