Many people have come across a time in their life where any action or event from the past comes back to haunt them in their present life. This past event either affects their future actions in a negative or positive way. A play in which a character must contend with an aspect from the past is, The Piano Lesson by August Wilson. In August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, Bernice Charles, struggles with embracing her family’s history of enslavement and oppression. She does this by deciding to keep the family’s heirloom, the piano, but yet denies its presence. She also decides to move up north from the south and away from her family’s history with her Uncle Doaker and daughter Maretha, again proving that she wants nothing to do with her past. Later on in the play, Bernice and her brother Boy Willie encounter Mr.Sutter 's ghost. Bernice decides to go against her idea of never touching the piano and plays it for the first time since the death of her parents. With the support of their ancestors they successfully fight back the ghost and Bernice realizes it 's a mistake to avoid or run away from her past. The actions taken by Bernice at the end of the play reveal that despite their past anyone is capable of embracing and moving on from their past in a way that will help them benefit their future actions positively.
August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, tells a story of a family haunted by the pain of their past and their struggle to find peace to move forward. The story begins with character Boy Willie coming up from the south visiting his sister Bernice. Boy Willie introduces the idea of selling the family’s heirloom, a piano, to raise enough money to buy the land on which his ancestors were enslaved. However, both Boy Willie and his sister Berniece own half a half of the piano and she refuses to let Boy Willie sell it. Through the use of symbolism, Wilson uses his characters, the piano and the family’s situation to provide his intended audience with the lesson of exorcising our past in order to move forward in our lives. Our past will always be a
Boy Willie describes the piano as “Yeah… look here, Lymon. See how it got all those carvings on it. See, that’s what I was talking about. See how it’ carved up real nice and polished and everything? You never find you another piano like that” (9), while he looks only at its price, “My mama used to
In The Piano Lesson each central character learns a lesson. August Wilson uses plenty of symbolism throughout his play, the strongest symbol being the piano itself, representing the family's history, their long struggle, and their burden of their race. Throughout the play, the conflict revolves around the piano, and Berniece and Boy Willie's contrasting views about its significance and about what should be done with it. Berniece is ashamed and cannot let go of the past, or the piano, and Boy Willie wants to move his life forward, and use the piano to do so. Wilson portrays the 'lesson' of the piano as accepting and respecting one's past and moving on with one's life gracefully, through Berniece and Boy Willies contrasting actions and the
In The Piano Lesson, by August Wilson, Berniece struggles with her personal connection with the piano. Her families past reveal her relationship with the piano. The piano meant a lot of things to a lot of different people over the years. The piano is a complex and multilayers symbol; its meanings are both personal and political. For example, Berniece was affected by the piano positively and negatively. She had a sentimental connection with it and never wanted to get rid of it. But the piano had a lot of history behind it and it also carries a lot of meaning to it. Berniece stopped playing the piano for a while because of all the spirits inside of it and how they started to haunt other people. Berniece saw Boy Willie getting attacked by Sutter’s ghost and that made her realize she needs to let go of the past and play the piano again. But what was ironic is that she tried her best to forget the family history that came with the piano, she can never let go of her families past no matter what she does. This reveals that people should come to good terms with their past and learn to overcome it.
In the middle of Bernice Charles's parlor it sits, unmoved and wooden. How it came to be there is a story which her uncle Doaker tells well. Her father Willie Boy used to work as a slave under the ownership of Mr. Sutter. He was an amazing wood crafter and continued to bring cash in for his "superior". But Willie Boy didn't always belong to Sutter, instead he used to belong to a certain Nolander, whose wife owned the very piano that he was traded to Mr. Sutter for. When Mrs. Nolander wanted to buy him back as her slave, the new owner refused. Instead he allowed Willie Boy to take his talents into their house and carve a picture into the wood of their piano. He was only supposed to carve himself and Mama Bernice, but instead continued to carve pictures of his whole family that he stored in his memory. After the piano was finished Boy Charles, Willie Boy's father, felt that he should take the piano because he would "say it was the story of [their] whole family and as long as Sutter had it he had [them]"(Wilson 45). On the fourth of July in 1911, it was done. But sadly, Boy Charles was killed, hiding in a box car afterwards. After his death, Bernice's mother broke down and brought in a woman to teach Bernice how to play. She said that when Bernice played she could hear her father talk to her, and so Bernice continued to play, until her mother's death. Now she won't touch the piano, yet refuses to
Berniece develops these personal problems when her brother, Boy Willie wants to sell the piano. Berniece isn’t ready to let go and believes that the piano has sentimental meaning to family as a whole. Her mother spent 17 years, pouring her sweat and blood into that piano after her father died and she didn't want that piano to go anywhere but to stay in the family.
Can a treasured object of the past serve as a teacher for the future? Once people share the historical significance of it, an object can symbolize the overcoming of hardships of those lives in which it becomes a part. Therefore, it may indeed “instruct” future generations to glean wisdom from the past. August Wilson’s play The Piano Lesson centers on the trials and triumphs of a family affected by the enslaving of their ancestors and by current racial prejudice. An embellished piano, which bears the carved images of their enslaved ancestors accounts for the conflict that the Charles’ face. The Charles’ siblings inherit the piano from their mother, widowed upon the murder of her
Winner of multiple awards such as the Tony Award, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize, August Wilson is known most for his forceful cultural plays. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Wilson was born to a white father that later abandoned his family, and a black mother. Wilson dropped out of school in the ninth grade after being accused of plagiarism. Wilson after went to public libraries and read various books; this was an initiation for Wilson and his successful future. When Wilson first started writing he didn’t think he was able to write his own works because of such great writers before him. “Quote black literature criticism”. However
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.
Boy Willie, however, wants to release the past and sell the family piano so he can have a new start in life and forget the painful past. "The Piano Lesson" is both unique to the plight of African-Americans and universal in its depiction of the human condition (Gale, 2000, p249). The sibling rivalry, past history versus present time and future, storytelling and gender relationships all cross both unique and universal boundaries. To illustrate, even in today's society there are sibling rivalry that pit brother against sister, brother against brother or sister against sister together to the point of bitter battle. In addition, there are still people in today's society that have difficulties in resolving painful past experiences with the present and future. In regards to gender relationships, there are still a lot of mysteries in the realm of love between two people. 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” (Sparknotes, 2014). Therefore, even though the theme of this play surrounds itself around African-Americans, the situation can easily be applied to all races and time periods.
Screen and Visual images are important in the film; The Piano directed by Jane Campion. The screen and visual images are represented by Motifs. They are related to the dominating characters which makes them important.
Social classes are a dividing system for people of a nation or country, and have existed for as long as history can date back. In the past, it has designated people to certain categories that determined the opportunities and privileges that they could receive. In the past, the social class a person belonged to was determined by which one he or she was born into, and this label generally stuck to someone for life. In more recent history, broadened opportunity has opened up an escape for those stuck in the lower classes. The social class a person is born into has become a starting point in life, and where somebody ends up is decided by his or her determination. In Toni Cade Bambara's “The Lesson,” the theme is about learning that a
In Player Piano, everything is controlled by machines and computers and depends on productivity. The managers and engineers only create new programs for more productive production. Even the rates of production and consumption are calculated by a computer (EPICAC), which is seated in the large Carlsbad cavern system. The EPICAC computer even determines the people's careers and in this way their whole lives. It gives intelligence tests to everyone, and on the basis of their results it sorts people into two categories - suitable for university entering exams and suitable for 'work'. The university studies allow their graduates to become managers, engineers, writers or public relation workers. You may become a writer only if
In this story the author tells us about a girl named Sylvia, the narrator, who lives in a very low income family. A place where school is not a priority. A place where it is more important to be strong and hard, than to read a book. This was the thought anyway, before Miss. Moore moved in. She was a school teacher who took it upon herself to teach the neighborhood kids. On one summer afternoon in particular she was going to take the kids into town on a field trip. The kids are not at all happy about this because they know it is summer break and they are not supposed to be in school in the summer. They would rather be at the pool playin’, but Miss. Moore knows that if these kids want a chance at a better life,