The Piano Lesson

Satisfactory Essays
Philip Kang
Ms. Millar
AP Literature
12/7/12
Loss Berniece is a strong and independent widowed woman who seeks peace and freedom throughout the play. Although it has been three years since the death of her husband Crawley, she chooses not to marry Avery because she is still in grief. In the Piano Lesson by August Wilson, the theme of loss is displayed through Berneice as the loss of her husband causes her to become distressed throughout the play. Berniece’s loss of her husband Crawley causes her to become distressed. The readers can see her distressed when she discovers “Sutter standing at the top of the steps” (Wilson 13). Berniece is found trying to catch her breath as she explains the situation to Doaker and Boy Willie. She hallucinates and states that she has seen the “ghost of Sutter.” However, Boy Willie refutes her story stating “that’s all in Berniece’s head” (Wilson 13). After Berniece encounters the ghost of Sutter, she suggests that Boy Willie and Lymon leave her house because she believes that Boy Willie brings trouble with him everywhere he goes. She then blames Boy Willie for the death of Crawley stating, “If it wasn’t for you Crawley would still be alive” (Wilson 15). Furthermore, by the end of Act One, Berniece explodes as she continuously hits and blames Boy Willie for the death of Crawley. Clearly, Berniece is in distress because she is emotionally unstable. Although Crawley died three years ago, Berniece continues to dwell upon her past. The loss of her husband demonstrates the theme of loss in the play. In contrast, Berniece gains peace and freedom at the end of the play. She gains peace from Boy Willie and Sutter. Boy Willie finally gives up on selling the piano and Sutter’s ghost is finally exorcised out of the house. Berniece also gains freedom because it is assumed when Berniece states “thank you” (Wilson 108) that she moves on from her past. The “sound of the train that was heard upstairs” in Doaker’s house (Wilson 107) is an

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