African American Culture In August Wilson's Play 'The Piano Lesson'

Powerful Essays
April 21, 2004
African American Culture
The Piano Lesson

In the Piano Lesson, August Wilson traces the family heirloom back three generations, to an incident in the family’s slave legacy that has left them to face the present on the terms of a history that, later is not just communal (done by all members of the family) and familial. The action of the play is driven by conflict over how best to engage history, which would celebrate the event of the past, or as a foundation for the present, which would seek to fulfill its promise. The conflict it the piano. I think August Wilson’s play “ The Piano Lesson” tell us that although there is nothing wrong with perusing the American Dream, it should not be at the expense of one’s
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She is still mourning the lost of Crawley ( her deceased husband), and a single parent raising her daughter. Bernice believe’s in accommodating. I think Bernice’s lesson is that she has to learn how to deal with the past in order to move on into the future. Keeping the piano in the family doesn’t change anything. According to Bernice it has no past and she doesn’t want to re-live it either. This does not make her better or the good person. Her daughter doesn’t know the history of the piano, she does not know where she came from. I couldn’t imagine growing up like that. I think that the piano needs to stay in the family, but I also think that the piano should be used. My great-grandmother left me piano, not a day goes by without me using my piano. That is the only thing that I have left. So when I play the piano it’s like my great-grandmother is there with me, sitting next to me on the bench singing to the …show more content…
He knows what he is capable of when he says: “See now... I’ll tell you something about me. I done strung along and strung along. Going this way and that. Whatever way would lead me to a moment of peace. That’s all I want. To be as easy with everything. But I wasn’t born to that. I was born to a time of fire. The world ain’t wanted no part of me. I could see that since I was about seven. The world say it’s better off without me. See, Bernice accept that. She trying to come up to where she can prove something to the world. Hell, the world a better place cause of me. I don’t see it like Bernice. I got a heart that beats here and it beats just as loud as the next fellow’s. Don’t care if he black or white.. Sometime it beats louder. When it beats louder, then everybody can hear it. Some people get scared to hear a nigger’s heart beating. They think you out to lay low with that heart. Make it beat quiet and go along with everything the way it is. But my mama ain’t birthed me for nothing. So what I got to do? I got to make my passing on the road. Just like you write on a tree, Boy Willie was here” Boy Willie is relating to having a double consciousness. He was emasculated at the age of seven. He has no education only the street smarts from the experiences he has gone through. Towards the end of the book Boy Willie realizes that the piano has meaning when Bernice gets rid of Sutter’s ghost by singing on the

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