The Piano Lessen

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade March 2001

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Sibling Rivalry In the play, "The Piano Lesson"� by August Wilson, it showed the difficulties in releasing the past and moving forward in one's life. The central conflict is between Boy Willie and Berniece, a brother and a sister. They argue over their differences in values and beliefs in life. Boy Willie wants to sell the piano so he can buy his own land to farm and start a new life for himself, land where his ancestors slaved. He is however confronted by his sister, Berniece, who does not want to sell it because of what it portrays and represents about the family's history. The piano has cravings by a slave ancestor that tells the whole story of Boy Willie and Berniece. Boy Willie and Berniece, the two main characters in this play with the rest of the family as supporting cast. This is one of the reasons why Boy Willie and his sister Berniece are so different than alike as they are both doing what they feel is best.

Berniece is withdrawn and held a lot of pain inside after the death of her mother and her husband. Some of this resentment is shown towards Boy Willie, as she believes he killed her husband Crawley. "If it wasn't for you Crawley would still be alive."� (15) Also, Berniece is still carrying the past around, a past that is holding her back both economically and in her love life. The reason Berniece didn't want to sell the piano because her father died over it and her mother used to clean it until she bleeds. "� Mama Ola polished this piano with her tears for seventeen years. For seventeen years she rubbed it till her hands bled."� (52) Berniece's future in love ends in conflict, as she...