The Piano Lesson
In The Piano Lesson, the author uses a one hundred and thirty-seven year old piano as a means of family history for a black family in Pittsburgh. It is beautifully carved with images of the Charles family’s ancestors. The piano serves as an important symbol during the slavery era between the Charles family and the Sutter family. The irony of how this piano is exchanged between the two families is very interesting. The theme of The Piano Lesson questions the importance of past events versus the success of future events between a sister, Berniece, and her brother, Boy Willie. Their uncles, Doaker and Wining Boy, are left in the middle to settle their differences. Many years ago, Robert Sutter and his family owned the Charles family during the slavery era. The piano was owned by a man from Georgia. Robert Sutter’s wedding anniversary was approaching and he wanted to buy his wife, Ophelia, the piano as a present. The only problem was that he did not have enough money, but he thought about he owned a couple of slaves. He asked the man from Georgia if he could trade one and a half slaves instead and, of course, the man accepted his offer on one condition; he would pick the slaves. Berniece, Doaker’s grandmother, and his daddy were the two that were traded. Ophelia was so happy with her new gift until she started missing her slaves, which caused her to fall desperately ill. In an attempt to get Ophelia back on her feet, Sutter asked Doaker’s grandfather, Willie Boy, to carve his wife and son’s picture on the piano. He did as he was told, but he also carved his mother and daddy, the man in Georgia taking his family away, his mother’s funeral, and other things that happened with their family. When Ophelia saw this she became delighted and continued to play on the piano until the day she died, but Sutter became very angry at what he had seen. Everyone knew about the piano and for some reason it stood out to Doaker’s brother, Boy Charles, whom was Berniece...
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