Essay Critique of The Piano Lesson

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Critique of The Piano Lesson
*No Works Cited The Piano Lesson is a masterpiece in itself, earning a Pulitzer Prize in 1990. However, this particular play has elements not typical of modern plays. It has the quintessential plot that encompasses a conflict. On the surface, the conflict is between Boy Willie and his sister, Bernice. However, beneath that conflict, lies the symbolism of the characters. Boy Willie symbolizes the American way or the white man's culture. Bernice is the African-American way, staying true to her roots and not parting with the heritage. Although she finds this painful, she will not part with her heritage. Her heritage is tangible in the presence of the piano itself. Within the presence of the piano, August Wilson
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It is more colloquial and informal. By incorporating this dialect, Wilson creates a play that is purely representational of the era. Characters become more authentic as they are believable. The audience sympathizes with them. When an audience superimposes the characters, the theme is not only heard, but felt within each individual. As I sat in my seat, I felt the anguish between the siblings as they communicated their concerns about the piano. For example, Bernice describes the piano as polished by the blood, sweat and tears of her ancestors. The anguish of slavery and oppression swells through her words. When Boy Willie persists in taking the piano, he also communicates his determination to succeed on the same land that bound his ancestors. This is very powerful language because it renders more than just denotation. It communicates the way the characters relate themselves to the world around them (past, present and future.) The language itself is very moving and purposeful. At the end of the play, Wilson leaves a few loose ends. Does Bernice marry Avery? Does she encourage Maretha to be more receptive of her heritage? Does Boy Willie find another avenue to pursue success? Does Lymon find his way in Pittsburgh, or return to Mississippi? Does Whining Boy ever learn to settle down? Is he really Lymon's father? These questions are intentionally unanswered to allow the audience to draw their own conclusions about the situation. All

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