Term Paper: Piano Lesson by August Wilson

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Piano Lesson": Ambivalence And Legacy

The piano of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson" is symbolic of the complex and ambivalent relationship Bernice and Willie have to the land their ancestors toiled as slaves, and the ability of African-Americans to re-tell and re-interpret their ancestral history of slavery in a positive and empowering manner. At the beginning of the play, Willie wants to sell the piano so he can symbolically defeat the attempts of the Sutter family to own his family. His sister Bernice sees the enduring presence piano as symbolizing her family's freedom, forged by her father.

Long ago, the family's images were carved into the piano after Willie and Bernice's ancestors were traded for the piano. Bernice's father came to believe that if another person owned the piano, the family would still be in bondage, so he took the piano and crafted its wood into a living testimony of the family. Bernice and Willie's father: "say we was still in slavery," while the piano rested in the hands of another person, Bernice recalls (45).

On one hand, Bernice hates the piano because it reminds her of her legacy as a slave… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Piano Lesson by August Wilson.  (2007, March 25).  Retrieved December 9, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/piano-lesson-august-wilson/71385

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