Analysis Of The Piano Lesson By August Wilson

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Hans Christian Anderson one said that where words fail, music speaks. Nowhere is this truer than in The Piano Lesson by August Wilson. The Piano Lesson tells the story of family that struggles in the side and what do with a family heirloom that takes the form of an ornately carved upright piano. Bernice wishes to keep the piano but her brother, Boy Willie, wishes to sell the piano for land because according to him Bernice is not doing anything but letting it sit there and rot because no one is playing it. Yet despite what Boy Willie says the piano actually gets quite a bit of use in the play. Along with playing the piano the characters can also be seen singing in the play. The songs the characters sing and perform does a good job of relating the characters thoughts and actions to a more musical medium. From songs such as Maretha's beginners piece on the piano to Wining Boy's more experienced yet melancholic tune the music of The Piano Lesson tells us about the character's pasts and presents.
Starting with the song “Berta, Berta” (which is initially sung by Boy Willie but soon joined in by Lymon, Wining Boy, and lastly Doaker), the song tells the story of a man working on Parchman Farm, known formally as the Mississippi State Penitentiary, who tells his sweetheart, Alberta, to not wait for him and to go ahead and marry. The song itself is a prison work song typically sung by those imprisoned who worked on Parchman. What this lets us know is a multitude of facts about the people singing this song. For example the most glaring fact is that they have spent time or know someone who spent time at Parchman Farm this show the racism faced by the Charles family and countless other families in early 20th century America. With Boy Willie being the one to initiate the singing of a song with such a history combined with his desire to purchase Sutter's land, as seen in various pages, one can infer that he is an ambitious albeit brash man who choses to take control of the situation the family has found itself in and honor the wishes of his father and grandfather, Boy Charles and Willie Boy respectively.
Now focusing on two smaller songs you can still get a general grasp on the background of those associated with them. The

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