Summary Of The Piano Lesson


The Piano Lesson Summary

A Summary: The Piano Lesson

Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Plot Summary of The Piano Lesson by August Wilson. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.

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The Piano Lesson is set in Pittsburgh in 1936, with all the action taking place in the house of Doaker Charles. A 137-year-old, upright piano, decorated with totems in the manner of African sculpture, dominates the parlor.

The play opens at dawn. Boy Willie, Doaker’s nephew, knocks at the door and enters with his partner, Lymon. Two have come from Mississippi to sell watermelons. Willie has not seen his sister Berniece, who lives with Doaker, for three years as he has been serving a sentence on the Parchman Prison Farm.

Willie asks his uncle for a celebratory drink: the Ghosts of the Yellow Dog have drowned Sutter in his own well. Willie intends to sell the family piano and use the money to buy Sutter’s land, the land his ancestors once worked as slaves. Doaker, however, is sure Berniece will not part with the piano. Indeed, Avery Browna preacher who has been courting Berniece since her husband Crawley diedhas already tried to get her to sell it. Willie schemes to get in touch with the prospective buyer himself.

Suddenly Berniece cries out off-stage, “Go on get away.” Berniece claims she has seen Sutter’s ghost, calling Boy Willie’s name. She is convinced that her brother pushed Sutter into the well. Shaken, she refuses to cooperate with his plans.


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“The Piano Lesson – Summary” Critical Survey of Literature for Students Ed. Laurence W. Mazzeno., Inc. 2010 7 Dec. 2022 <>

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Topics For Further Study

  • Wilson was inspired to write The Piano Lesson by Romare Beardens painting Piano Lesson. Examine the painting, then consider the symbolism of the piano in the play, particularly the carvings on it. Compare and contrast the painting and the play in terms of their representation of art in African-American life.
  • Research the Great Depression and Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal in 1930s America, then, using your research, consider Wilsons representations of poverty and opportunity in The Piano Lesson.
  • Research the Great Migration of southern African-Americans to the urban North. Then, using your research, discuss Wilsons speculation about what might have happened if more African-Americans had stayed on in the South and found a viable way to work the land. Do you think this might have been possible, and what kinds of social changes would have to have taken place to make this work?
  • Why is Sutters ghost haunting the Charles family, and how convincing is its unseen presence on-stage?
  • Consider one or more of the following examples of Wilsons use of language in The Piano Lesson and, using examples, demonstrate how it contributes to the power and believability of the play: black dialect, metaphor, lyricism.
  • Using examples from the text, identify what you believe is the plays central message and consider its importance today.

slave, of owner and renter, by becoming an owner himself, the master of the very land that the Charles family has worked for so many generations.

Brave New World And Player Piano: Literary Analysis

Piano lesson flyer

In Huxleys dystopia, Shakespeares concepts of marriage, commitment, and restraint are obsolete, so Lenina is left frustrated and confused: For Fords sake, John, she demands, talk sense. I cant understand a word you say . To her, Johns Shakespearean values are foreign and absurd, later inspiring his violent rejection that ends their brief relationship. Thus, Johns old values confirm his irreconcilable differences with the World State. Likewise, the old values are equally emphasized in Player Piano.

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Berniece’s Relationship With Boy Willie

have a great relationship with Boy Willie. Once Lymon notices the piano and tells Boy Willie, this is where the drama begins. Boy Willie tells Lymon that he wants to sell the piano because he thinks it is worth a lot of money. Doaker already knows that Berniece will not let him sell the piano because of the significance it has within the family. Another reason Berniece does not want to sell the piano is because her daughter, Maretha, is learning how to play it.

As Part Of The Connecticut Colony

In 1664 New Haven became part of the Connecticut Colony when the two colonies were merged under political pressure from England. Some members of the New Haven Colony seeking to establish a new theocracy elsewhere went on to establish .

It was made co- of Connecticut in 1701, a status it retained until 1873.

In 1716, the Collegiate School relocated from to New Haven, establishing New Haven as a center of learning. In 1718, in response to a large donation from merchant , former Governor of , the name of the Collegiate School was changed to .

For over a century, New Haven citizens had fought in the colonial militia alongside regular British forces, as in the . As the approached, General and other influential residents hoped that the conflict with the government in Britain could be resolved short of rebellion. On 23 April 1775, which is still celebrated in New Haven as , the Second Company, , of New Haven entered the struggle against the . Under Captain , they broke into the powder house to arm themselves and began a three-day march to . Other New Haven militia members were on hand to escort from his overnight stay in New Haven on his way to Cambridge. Contemporary reports, from both sides, remark on the New Haven volunteers’ professional military bearing, including uniforms.

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Primary And Secondary Schools

is the school district serving the city. and are New Haven’s two largest public secondary schools.

, a private school, was founded in 1660 and is the fifth-oldest educational institution in the United States. New Haven is home to a number of other private schools as well as public magnet schools, including , High School in the Community, , , , , , the and the , all of which draw students from New Haven and suburban towns. New Haven is also home to two Achievement First charter schools, Amistad Academy and Elm City College Prep, and to Common Ground, an environmental charter school.

The city is renowned for its progressive school lunch programs, and participation in statewide bussing efforts toward increased diversity in schools.

The Piano Man’s Daughter Character Analysis

PIANO CHORDS: The ULTIMATE Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners [EASY VERSION]

She is speaking about her husband who passed, Tom. Her speech displays how even though he is gone her love for him is eternal. Many teens enjoy reading about love, it is a captivate theme that everyone can relate to. There fore many teens can relate to mental illness, family issues and love, which are key topics that are discussed throughout the text The Piano Mans Daughter. In conclusion, Timothy Findley is a significant Canadian author as his personal struggle enables him to address human struggle in an authentic way.

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Examples Of Grief In The Piano Lesson

The history of what the piano and her family makes it hard for her to have any contact with the piano. Berniece also mentions that she does not want to play it because she might wake the spirits of her ancestors that had passed. We can conclude that, that is the reason she says ” Avery.. I done told you I dont want to play that piano, now or no other time”. But that changed till one day the family experienced the presence of Sutter, and in order to remove it Berniece was brave enough to play the piano and call out her ancestors to help them remove the

Foreshadowing And Allusion In Desiree’s Baby By Kate Chopin

Desiree says good-bye to Armand and goes to the deserted field with her child and never came back. Armand was burning all of Desirees and the childs materials into the bonfire. Then he found some letters from Desiree, but one was from his mother to his father, the letter said that she was grateful that Armand would never find out his mother was of slave heritage . In Desirees Baby, Kate Chopin uses imagery, foreshadowing and allusion to develop the ominos, mystery and sad story.

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The Piano Lesson Review: August Wilsons Phantom Notes

John David Washington, Danielle Brooks and Samuel L. Jackson star in the first Broadway revival of Wilsons haunting family drama set in 1936.

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The Piano Lesson

Four Black men gathered around a kitchen table exuberantly sing a work song , a Black woman girds herself with her grief for the husband and father she lost to the anger of white men, and siblings fight over a seemingly haunted family heirloom that tells a story of generational trauma and loss. These circumstances are more than enough to raise the dead.

Or at least they are in the Charles household, in the Broadway revival of August Wilsons The Piano Lesson, which opened Thursday at the Ethel Barrymore Theater.

First staged in 1987 at the Yale Repertory Theater, The Piano Lesson made its Broadway debut at the Walter Kerr three years later. That year it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama one of two Wilson won for his American Century Cycle, a collection of 10 plays, one for each decade of the 20th century, depicting African American life.

Its an august instrument with a knotty history, linking the Charles family to their enslaved ancestors and the white family that owned them. Each panel is covered with figures representing the Charleses even the pianos front legs are elaborately sculpted.

Theme Of Racism In Desiree’s Baby

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Armands mother tries to spare him the burden of knowing his actual origin by keeping it from him all those years. She thinks by hiding it from him it will solve many of his problems to come although it may be the reason as to why this all happens. Chopins use of irony is what makes this short story so popular. As a reader, plot twists make the story very entertaining and keeps the reader on the edge of the seat wanting to know what will happen next. This is one of the reasons she uses it in some of her short

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The Piano Lesson Play Analysis

Despite the fact that the piano has great significance to her, Berniece refuses to play the piano. Berniece allows Maretha to play the piano, she teaches her songs that she can practice. When Avery asks Berniece about using the piano for his church Berniece says to him I done told you I dont play on that piano. Aint no need in you to keep talking about that choir stuff. When my mama died I shut the top of that piano and I aint never opened it since.

Story Of An Hour Character Analysis Essay

In Kate Chopins The Story of an Hour demonstrates the personal growth of the dynamic protagonist Louise Mallard, after hearing news of her husbands death. The third-person narrator telling the story uses deep insight into Mrs. Mallards thoughts and emotions as she sorts through her feelings after her sister informs her of her husbands death. During a Character analysis of Louise Mallard, a reader will understand that the delicate Mrs. Mallard transforms her grief into excitement over her newly discovered freedom that leads to her death. As Mrs. Mallard sorts through her grief she realizes the importance of this freedom and the strength that she will be able to do it alone.

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Historic Points Of Interest

Many historical sites exist throughout the city, including . Of these, nine are among the . The , one of the National Historic Landmarks, was formed in 1638, and is home to three 19th-century churches. Below the First Church of Christ in New Haven lies a 17th-century crypt, which is open to visitors. Some of the more famous burials include the first wife of and the aunt and grandmother of President Hayes visited the crypt while President in 1880. The of is located next to the Green, and includes , Yale’s oldest building and a National Historic Landmark. The area, which is listed on the and is also a part of Yale’s campus, has been called a walkable museum, due to its 19th-century mansions and street scape is said to have called Hillhouse Avenue “the most beautiful street in America” when visiting the city in 1868.

In 1660, and , two generals who signed the death warrant of , hid in a rock formation in New Haven after having fled England upon the of to the English throne. They were later joined by a third , . The rock formation, which is now a part of , is known as , and the path leading to the cave is called the .

The Importance Of Bernice In The Piano Lesson

Piano Lesson Summary: Schumann Traumerei (Kinderszenen No. 7) Op. 15

When the past is often discussed, few truly recognize the importance of how previous trails aid with the development of the future. Knowledge gained from prior actions, and their consequences after, are vital in survival and preparation for upcoming tribulations. In August Wilsons The Piano Lesson, this artful theater production expresses how the past provides the necessary understanding to prepare for the following difficulties. Bernice in The Piano Lesson conveys how the past, and former problems such as her husbands death are astoundingly significant towards overcoming obstacles that will come. Past tribulations can be learned from to overcome new ones, which reveals that the pasts defeats are essential for future triumph.

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    What Do I Read Next

    vehicle for social protest and public education. Wilsons early involvement in the Black Power movement and in black community theater, and his ambitious plan to write a cycle of plays about African-American life in the twentieth century, are proof of his desire to alter the relationship between blacks and society through the arts. His representation of black suffering, coupled with his celebration of black resistance and endurance, offers his audience a new representation of African-American history.

    In the late- 1960s, artists involved in counterculture movements resurrected the theater as a forum for political protest and a vehicle for social change. Many artists saw community theater as a means to reach out to their community and educate and politicize them. Wilson participated in the Black Power movement in the early- 1960s and, like many artists during this period, he saw writing as a means to bring about social change. In 1968 Wilson cofounded the Black Horizons Theater in his homesuburb of the Hill in Pittsburgh.

    Wilsons shift from community theater to the comparative profitability of Broadway was either hailed as progress for black audiences and artists or seen as him selling-out to white expectations and commercial incentives. But close examination of Wilsons oeuvre reveals that he maintained his original ideal: to educate his audience and to contribute positively to the African-American identity.

    : Helena Ifeka, for Drama for Students, Gale, 2000.

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    The Awakening And Story Of An Hour Analysis

    Chopins novel and short story provides awareness of the lack of independence and individuality that women are granted in that era. Chopins voices how Louise and Enda becomes accustom to living according to what the man of the house desires. Then would be no power will bending hers in that blind persistence . With Louise husband being gone, he would no longer interfere with her actions or even overrule what she has to say. Louise would be completely free from his authority.

    A Summary Of The Piano Lesson By August Wilson

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