August Wilson's play "the piano lesson".

Essay by ateivonCollege, UndergraduateA+, June 2003

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I think August wilson's play "the piano lesson" tells us that although there is nothing

wrong with persuing the American dream, it should not be at the expense of ones heritage

or culture. It also showed the difficulties in releasing the past and moving forward in

one's life. It is centered on the conflicts between brother and sister over differences in

values and beliefs.

Boy willie wants to sell the piano in the name of his future which is the American dream,

a future that would avenge his ancestors and secure his success. Berniece on the other

hand clings to the heirloom in memory of the blood that stains its wood.

In this play, the only person who makes sense is Boy willie. He wants more to life then

what he has. He approaches everything with a boyish and occasionally crude bravado.

His impulse is to use the family legacy and convert it into capital.

In this sense, Willie

appears to be denying his families traumatic past.

Quiet the contrary I think as he wants to use the money to buy Sutter's land. Land that his

ancestors worked as slaves. As we can see from the discussion that he has with his uncle

"Sutter's brother selling the land. He say he gonna sell it to me. That's why I come up here. I got one part of it. Sell them watermelons and get me another part. Get Berniece to sell that piano and I'll have the third part." (9)

The fact that he wants to buy his "ancestors land" tells us that he is in tune with his

Family legacy. We can see that he is not as selfish as he appears. The only reason why he

wanted to sell the piano is because Berniece never played it...