He is honest and ambitious, finding himself opportunities in the city that were unavailable to him in rural areas of the South. After Boy Willie is saved by Berniece when she summons their ancestor’s spirits from the piano, he realizes that it belongs in the family. She sits down at the piano and, for the first time in a year, she plays. Wining Boy, vivacious and talented, tried to obtain success as a recording artist, having failed that he’s reduced to being just another black blues player without an identity of his own. “To Berniece—whose life has been spent in the shadow of violence and death—the piano is a millstone round her neck, trapping her in a vortex of painful memories, dragging her into the depths of a past she wants to forget. When Sutter’s ghost attacks her brother, Berniece summons her ancestors’ spirits to exorcise it. Plot Summary. [. The Piano Lesson is the fourth of August Wilson's cycle of plays about the African American experience in the twentieth century. On the way to achieve his goal, Boy Willie comes to understand that he doesn’t have to own land to have dignity, pride, and proof of achievement, the piano represents that for every member of the Charles family. He wanted to give a piano to his wife, but didn’t have any money. Mama Ola polished this piano with her tears for seventeen years. All this thieving and killing. He explains his idea and his reason for coming to Pittsburgh. He envisions building a dolly to move the piano out, sell it, and eventually become a respected farmer: The piano was previously owned by the Sutter family, who held Boy Willie and Berniece’s family enslaved. Matisse began with a naturalistic drawing, but he eliminated detail as he worked, scraping down areas and rebuilding them in broad fields of color. When Boy Willie barges into her house unexpectedly, she tells him to leave. Boy Willie stayed in Mississippi. Later, she threatens him: . But the title also reflects the main conflict in the play, which centers around a piano a brother and sister have inherited from their mother. AVERY: Thirty-eight years old, Avery is a preacher who is trying to build up his congregation. For seventeen years Berniece watched her mother grieve and devote the rest of her life to the care of the piano. He explains that they all make sacrifices and she must learn to, as well. I have mixed feelings about Jermaine Singleton’s analysis of The Piano Lesson. .] (Wilson, p. 86-87). Wining Boy, tired of only being valued for his ability to provide entertainment with a piano, decides to settle back down south where he can be loved for himself. This memory plagues Doaker with regret and guilt because he helped his brother take the piano from the Sutters, and then didn’t save him from being hunted down and murdered. Don’t just focus on The Piano Lesson analysis, even though you have the same topic for your assignment. The Analysis & Customersdriving of piano lesson sydney CBD illustrate irrefutable: The Benefits make the purchase very much easily. The piano will secure Maretha's future. It is the fourth play in Wilson's The Pittsburgh Cycle. Other than that I ain’t thinking about nothing Berniece got to say. Doaker Charles, their uncle, acts as mediator between the siblings. (Wilson, p. 54). The Piano Lesson study guide contains a biography of August Wilson, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. . Because of Berniece’s tendency to be suspicious of Boy Willie, it’s impossible for him to convince her to sell the piano on his behalf. (Wilson, p. 27) As the story progresses, Berniece moves from one activity to another:  She gets herself and Maretha ready for their day; sets rules for Boy Willie and Lymon’s stay; accompanies Avery to the bank to apply for a loan; prepares dinner for her uncle; cleans a businessman’s house for a living; fights her brother over the piano; rejects another marriage proposal from Avery; chases Boy Willie and his girlfriend out of the house; kisses Lymon then rejects him; gets her husband’s gun to threaten her brother; conjures up friendly spirits to save her brother from the ghost. She moved to Pittsburgh with her daughter. My goal is simple. Avery confesses that he’s getting tired of Berniece’s excuses for not marrying him. While The Piano Lesson is set in the 1930’s and Fences is set in the 1950’s, both plays take place in Pittsburgh during an era heavily defined by racism. BOY WILLIE:  I’m gonna talk to her. The two bust into the house of Boy Willie's uncle, Doaker, at five in the morning. (Wilson, p. 92). He leaves Pittsburgh as confident as ever that he’s worthy of a higher station in life and will eventually achieve his goal of owning a farm of his own. The piano was passed on to Berniece and Boy Willie. BERNIECE:  Seventeen years’ worth of cold nights and an empty bed. The Piano is the original soundtrack, on the Virgin Records label, of the 1993 Academy Award-winning film The Piano.The original score was composed by Michael Nyman and is his twentieth album release. Boy Willie believes Berniece’s reasons to keep the piano are insignificant compared to his need to overcome the disadvantages forced upon him. . First her father, Boy Charles, was burned to death after stealing the piano. (Wilson, p. 52). The dramas take place in a different decade, from the early 1900s until the 1990s. Download Monologues. There are 88 keys. (Wilson, p. 94), Berniece, aware of what the piano cost their family in lost lives and the grief that follows, tries to make Boy Willie see beyond its monetary value. Berniece focuses on thought: She’s constantly thinking about the suffering the piano caused her mother; how she isn’t going to end up like her mother, putting all of her love into the piano in place of a man; how Maretha isn’t going to be burdened by the piano’s tragic history; why she isn’t getting married again. He returns to Mississippi to make his way without proceeds from the piano. (Wilson, p. 66). "The Piano Lesson" premiered in … He and his friend, Lymon, have loaded a truck with watermelons which they intend to sell in Pittsburgh. August Wilson Writing Styles in The Piano Lesson August Wilson This Study Guide consists of approximately 60 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Piano Lesson. Look at this piano. The play takes place in the kitchen and parlor of Doaker Charles ’s house. (Wilson, p. 85). For what? She considers her family’s history surrounding the piano and concludes that it cost too much in suffering to give up. Lymon worries that if he returns to Mississippi, he’ll end up in the work farm just like in the past. He asks to simply listen rather than learn to play himself, and then offers to let her buy the piano back, one key at a time, by letting him do 'things he likes' while she plays. .] "That is MY piano - MINE!!" BOY WILLIE:  He [Boy Willie’s father] spent his whole life farming on somebody else’s land. The piano was previously owned by the Sutter family, who held Boy Willie and Berniece’s family enslaved. BERNIECE:  That’s a nasty thing to say. Matisse, The illustrated book, “Jazz” Conserving Henri Matisse's "The Swimming Pool" Practice: Fauvism and Matisse. Wilson began writing this play by playing with the various answers regarding the possibility of "acquir [ing] a sense of self-worth by denying one's past". Berniece uses her senses to guide her through a difficult period. “Family is everything” is a well-established archaic saying. Berniece plays the piano and unleashes the spirits of their ancestors to combat the evil ghost. Matisse, Piano Lesson. Although Maretha is taking lessons on the piano, he suggests that she take up the guitar saying, “You don’t need to read no paper to play the guitar.”  Later, he tells a customer that his watermelons are sweet because he puts sugar in the ground with the seeds, then he increases the price of the melons. Lymon wants to end the cycle of being put in a forced labor farm, and leaves Mississippi for good. . Boy Willie’s honest assessment of his situation as a black man in Mississippi makes him completely sympathetic to everyone except Berniece. I give out lessons on it and that help me make my rent or whatever. Boy Willie thinks the piano is valuable only because it can be sold to secure his future. AVERY: Thirty-eight years old, Avery is a preacher who is trying to build up his congregation. Berniece refuses to part with the instrument. A thematic issue that affects Berniece and Boy Willie is “suspicion.”  “She greets her brother’s arrival with suspicion, accuses him and his friend, Lymon, of stealing the truck in which they drove north, and ungraciously tells them to be on their way quickly. (Wilson, p. 99). She sings for the spirits of her family to help her. Gin my cotton. Interdiction slows the subjective story:  Boy Willie’s blind determination to sell the piano for money to buy land that will alter his future, prevents him from understanding that the piano is the embodiment of his family’s heritage and pride. ain’t they, Lymon? Berniece exhausts all of her arguments against Boy Willie selling the piano. If you teach that girl [Maretha] that she living at the bottom of life, she’s gonna grow up and hate you. As the story progresses Berniece and Boy Willie respond to each other without thinking: Berniece’s immediate reaction to Boy Willie’s pre-dawn appearance is to order him to leave; accuse him of stealing the truck he arrived in; suspect him of killing John Sutter; blame him for her husband’s death. Boy Willie Charles — Berniece's brother, sharecropper. He is honest and ambitious, finding himself opportunities in the city that were unavailable to him in rural areas of the South. Our numerous Analysis and Customersreports of the medium guarantee clearly: The positive Effect makes the purchase easily. Boy Willie searches the house for signs of Sutter’s ghost when Berniece first sees it, but fails to find any evidence of a haunting. and Doaker. The Piano Lesson Synopsis . (Wilson, p. 51). Detailed analysis of Characters in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. At the end of “The Piano Lesson,” however, when Boy Willie is struggling for life against Sutter’s ghost, Berniece finally understands that the only way to save him is to call upon her heritage, thereby empowering herself with its strength. Henri Matisse Formes, Plate IX, from "Jazz" 1947 Greenfield Sacks Gallery. You've reached the "hub" for any and all Dramatica analysis of The Piano Lesson. He’s disappointed when the woman he meets just wants him to buy her drinks. Berniece is sarcastic when she finally understands the meaning of Boy Willie’s visit. You can stand right up next to the white man and talk about the price of cotton. Berniece’s instinct to protect herself from being hurt by the reckless action of men sets her at odds with Boy Willie, Doaker, and Avery when she refuses to remarry. Berniece also fails to provide evidence that the piano is imbued with the anguished spirits of their ancestors, or that it’s anything more than a carved instrument. Lymon, afraid of being put back in a work farm for no good reason, comes up North hoping to get a fresh start in life. Boy Willie dreams of transforming himself from a sharecropper to a landed farmer respected by white men as well as black men by seizing control of his economic future. . This is the currently selected item. Despite being called a "soundtrack", this is a partial score re-recording, as Nyman himself also performs the piano on the album (whereas the film version is performed by lead actress Holly Hunter). The Piano is the original soundtrack, on the Virgin Records label, of the 1993 Academy Award-winning film The Piano.The original score was composed by Michael Nyman and is his twentieth album release. After Berniece saves him from the ghost using the piano, Boy Willie considers the possibility that it belongs with his sister, and leaves for Mississippi without it. She’s drawn to the carvings etched into the piano, and intuitively uses its music to summon her ancestor’s spirits. The Piano Lesson is a play by August Wilson that was first performed in 1987. Boy Willie Charles arrives at his sister’s home in Pittsburgh determined to sell the family piano which they have inherited. . © Copyright 1994-2020 Write Brothers, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Here's an in-depth analysis of the most important parts, in an easy-to-understand format. An offer to trade back the piano for them was refused. The main conflict in the play is between the main characters Bernice and her brother Boy Willie. The conflict between interdiction and prediction can be seen when Boy Willie insists that there is no difference between him and the white man. Cause that land give back to you. When Boy Willie asks for the name of the man who wanted to buy her piano, Berniece doubts are confirmed. - train a camera to analyse which key is being pressed instead of analyzing the audio. . He pretends to be a simple black farmer when he teases his white customer about planting sugar with the watermelon seeds. Papa Boy Charles brought that piano into the house. She realizes that she must call on the spirits of her mother, father, and grandparents. When the ghost finally menaces him, Boy Willie challenges it without fear or guilt which proves his innocence in Sutter’s murder. Boy Willie’s focus on arranging things to achieve his personal goal causes Berniece problems. Doaker, in explaining why Berniece won’t sell the piano, recollects how his father was traded for it, and how his brother was burned alive after stealing it. . . He tries to convince his sister to let him sell the family piano. . Berniece cannot reconcile her past with her present. Dive deep into August Wilson's The Piano Lesson with extended analysis, commentary, and discussion He decides to pressure Berniece to sell the piano which causes her to fight him with accusations and finally threaten his life. You can’t blame me for nobody else. As the story progresses Boy Willie assumes different roles to get want he wants:  He plays the kindly uncle to Maretha, telling her that the guitar is easier to learn than the piano, because he wants to sell the piano. Henri Matisse The Red Studio 1911 Museum of Modern Art. Boy Willie plans to sell the family’s piano to get the rest of the money to buy the land. Read a Plot Overview of the entire play or a scene by scene Summary and Analysis. . She learns to accept her past and look forward to the future. Three years ago Berniece lost her own husband when he was shot while collecting wood with Boy Willie. They never be walking around in this house. He patiently explains the Charles’ family’s tragic past surrounding the piano. His mother kept the piano, and when she died it was inherited by Boy Willie and Berniece equally. . Sell them watermelons. Dramatica is a registered trademark of Screenplay Systems Incorporated. . 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