The Theme Of Legacy In August Wilson's The Piano Lesson

942 Words4 Pages


In August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, Berniece struggles with the piano and it’s memories brought on by her mother. During the play Berniece argues the piano’s importance to Boy Willie. However, she has a shift in attitude. Berniece doesn't really interact with the piano or want anything to do with it but when Boy Willy mentions selling it she defends the piano. It’s like she is “freezing” the past and not allowing it to come into her life. She refuses to accept her past and live with it. By the end of The Piano Lesson the piano is brought back into her life. A lesson that comes through the test is to allow the past to be present in her or more specifically, in Berniece’s life. Legacy has an important part in the memories and outlooks of Berniece. The pictures and carvings on the piano remind Berniece of her mother and hardship the family has gone through living as slaves under Sutter’s family.

In The Piano Lesson the main theme is allowing the past to be present in life. During the play Berniece and her brother, Boy Willy, argue about whom the family piano belongs to and what they should do with it. While Boy Willy believes the piano should be put to better use and be sold for profit, Berniece …show more content…

Mama Ola engraved playing the piano to her into Berniece. However, she wouldn’t play it at all. In Harry Justin Elam’s “The Dialectics of August Wilson’s Piano Lesson”, Elam says, “Accordingly, Berniece’s neglect of the piano, her unwillingness to confront the ghosts of her past, threatens the current stability of the Charles family and allows the ghost of Sutter to return and contest them for ownership of the piano and possession of the “songs.”” (Elam Passage 7). What Elam is implying is very true. Maybe if Berniece would've used the piano and wouldn’t of refused to accept her past, Boy Willy or anyone one else wouldn’t of been in

Open Document