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Piano Lesson Essay

846 words - 4 pages

Boy Willie is the protagonist in the play The Piano Lesson, which is written by August Wilson. He is a foil character to his sister Berniece. He wants to sell the family piano. His biggest obstacle is his past, and his sister. Berniece wants to salvage the piano and keep it as a namesake. The quarrels revolving around legacies is the central conflict of the play. Boy Willie’s “Super-objective” contains two parts: fear and legacy resulting in memory.

Prior to the play, Boy Willie had not seen his sister in three years. During those three years he was incarcerated and was sentenced to labor at the Parchman Prison Farm. He is considered to be the most impulsive and prideful character in the ...view middle of the document...

As result, it makes Berniece and Boy Willie co-proprietors of the piano. As co-proprietor of the piano, he feels obligated to do as he pleases with it as any owner of property believes is something they should do. This could mark Boy Willie's reason behind his belief of being equal standing with a white man for only white men held property while colored people did not. Considering Boy Willie's colorful background, many white people are scared of him and what he can do. Like most prideful people, Boy Willie felt obligated to leave a legacy not only for him but for his father.

In order to accomplish his objective, Boy Willie believes he needs to do two things: sell the piano and buy the property that his ancestors labored on while they were slaves. He attempts to convince his sister that the ghost his sister saw is looking for the same piano he is attempting to sell. However, when Lymon and Boy Willie try to roll out the piano, Berniece threatens Boy Willie with a gun preventing him from continuing. During the time they attempt to “talk it out,” the ghost of Sutter reappears. Ex-priest Avery attempts to exorcise the ghost but fails, resulting in a fight between Boy Willie and the ghost. In order to save her brother, Berniece plays the piano and calls on the spirits of their ancestors, banishing Sutter’s ghost.

The battle between...

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