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The Piano Lesson

            The 1990 Pulitzer Prize winning play "The Piano Lesson" is an excellent look into African American life during the desegregation of America. Written by August Wilson a half white half black man that grew up in the racist town of Pittsburgh, shows his audience how life was for slaves trying to earn a living after being set free. Boy Willie and Berniece are two such characters. The two sibling's parents were slaves and the only thing that was left to them was an antique piano that their grandfather helped to make. The piano is the main point of conflict between Boy Willie and Berniece because of Berniece's past, Boy Willies plans for the future, and both want what is best for the family.
             Berniece's and Boy Willie's controversy over what to do with the piano has a lot to do with Berniece's past. Berniece is raising an eleven-year-old daughter without a father. She blames her brother Boy Willie for this because it was he who involved her husband on the night he was killed. She is also bitter about the fact that her father and mother were split apart for the piano, probably because she knows what her mother must have been going through not having a husband. This is seen when Berniece and Boy Willie get into their first fight over the piano and Berniece says to Boy Willie "You always talking about your daddy but you ain't never stopped to look at what his foolishness cost your mamma. Seventeen years" worth of cold nights and an empty bed. For What? For a piano?"(1575) A lot of hatred is senesced in Bernieces voice when talking to Boy Willie throughout the play. .
             Boy Willie's plan for the future causes conflict between Berniece and himself for many reasons. Boy Willie is a realist and he thinks that he can accomplish anything that he sets his mind to. Selling the piano makes perfect sense to him because it is the logical thing to do. He tells Berniece this in the first act "I"m talking about trading that piece of wood for some land.

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