Themes In August Wilson's The Piano Lesson

1900 Words 8 Pages
Playwright August Wilson uses his plays to display the struggles of Black Americans living throughout the twentieth century. In fact, August Wilson uses The piano Lesson to uncover the hardships Boy Willie and his family face focusing on a time when his family was held captive as slaves to a chance to own his own piece of land. The Piano Lesson demonstrates the importance of family heirlooms and how no amount of money could ever replace the sentimental value they hold. Berniece and Boy Willie battle over whether the piano should be sold to help re-write the family name or should remain with Berniece because of the family significance. Although Boy Willie never understands the importance of the piano, Bernice knows the piano stands for not only her mother 's love but also the struggles their family goes through in order to get the piano back. If Boy Willie understood that the piano is not simply a musical instrument, but a symbol of family heritage and love, he would no longer be as willing to sell the piano for mere money. Boy Willie and Lymon drove to Pittsburgh carrying watermelons in a beat down truck Berniece believes they …show more content…
Throughout the play Boy Willies and Berneice argue the most over whether selling the piano or keeping it would respect the family the most. Next, there is the theme of symbolism of the piano. Not only does Berniece connect the piano to her mother’s love, but also her family heritage and the death of her father. Finally, The Piano Lesson illustrates the use of religion and folklore in the early to late 1900’s. By use of The Yellow Dog folklore is presented as Boy Willie 's escape from being the murder of Sutter. The Piano Lesson overall displays the struggles Black Americans would go through transitioning from centuries of slavery to the sudden freedom and harsh equality people face in the free

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