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August Wilson’s the Piano Lesson, Questionnaire Example

Pages: 3

Words: 790

Questionnaire

Give a brief biography of the playwright?

August Wilson is an American Playwright. The Piano lesson happens to be the forth play in his Pittsburgh cycle writings. It was written in relation to the great depression which was soon over during the time this play was written. Importantly, he was inspired to write this play through a Romare Bearden with the same title. He was described by historians as a black poor  boy born and grew in in Pennsylvania. Due to his blackness and racial tension imposed by segregation he left school at age sixteen and decided to educate himself outside of the structured tense school system ( Bryer& Hartig. 2006).

When and where does the play take place(describe the setting)?

The setting is Pittsburg Pennsylvania in 1936. The play depicts the life of a Charles family in the Doaker Charles household in which was found a unique heirloom piano. August Wilson focuses his theme upon the arguments encountered between two siblings who disagree about this unique piece of furniture they have in their home.

Describe these Main Characters (include your thoughts on them):

Berniece:

She is the35-year old mother of Maretha and represents someone preserving her ancestors’ values. As such, August allows her to be theonly family member demanding that the piano heirloom remains in the house.  Further she blames boy Willie for her husband’sdeath and this is reflected in the relationship with her brother. Also, the astute character represented by Berniece develops similarities of her mother, Mama Ola, who also continues to morn her husband death.

Boy Willie:

Boy Willie represents an opposing force to Boy Charles their father. This is perceived in his desire to be a property owner. However, in a very subtle attitude he seems envious of his dad.

Wining Boy:

He is the comic of the play. August allows him to be the Doaker Charles 56-year-old elder

Brother.  He seems to represent fascinations of a world he hoped to have enjoyed and the failure of one he never managed to create.

Doaker:

He is made the main character used to communicate with the audience the intensity of Berniece desire to keep the heirloom piano.

Is the play intended to be realistic or non-realistic(do you think it is successful)?

This play was written at a time when segregation existed in America. In my evaluation it depicts an African American family values pertaining to something sacred to their tradition. The African tradition valued music emerging from drums. Owing a piano was an evolution into a more sophisticated aspect of music culture, which this family wanted to preserve. From this perspective the play was a success because many African Americans could identify with the  music tradition.

What is the Main Conflict of the play(discuss how the playwright uses this conflict to sustain interest)?

The main conflict of the play is trying to keep the piano as a piece of artifact within the family’s music tradition. The conflict of interest was maintained by producing continuous arguments between Bernice and Boy Willie. For Bernice the piano held sentimental value because it contained her ancestors’ engravement.  Boy Wille’s allegiance to his ancestors pertained to selling the piano and purchasing land for they toiled as slaves to acquire.

How is the Conflict resolved?

The conflict is resolved inn Shakespeare like fashion with Sutter’s ghost is suddenly appearing and cautioning the sale of the piano. Avery ties to dispatch the ghost, but is unsuccessful. This incident convinces everyone that the piano should remain in honor of their ancestors.

What message do you think the playwright is trying to convey?

The main message in my evaluation pertains to honoring the labors of the ancestors. While the piano contained sentimental value in selling it the labor of the ancestors would have also been preserved if the family obtained the land given to them during slavery. August demonstrated tow way in which this could have been done, keeping the piano, which was the highlight and next purchasing the land another.

Did you find the play entertaining to read, and did you take anything away

from reading it?

Yes it was and I learnt to value what my ancestors have left because their spirits would like us to reverence it.

Would you be interested in seeing this play or another August Wilson play performed based on your reading The Piano Lesson?

This play carries a strong African American moral. In my estimation it is timely for staging since we live in an era where   African Americans seem to loose site of the sacredness of elderly who will be our ancestors in generations to come. True in twenty-first century some elders might not have set great examples, but respect and honor is still due to them. Consequently this play ought to be staged every black history month.

Reference

Bryer, J., & and Mary C. Hartig. M. (2006). Conversations with August Wilson. Jackson: University of Mississippi.

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