Fortenbery 1 Sam Fortenbery English 2120.103 August Wilson “The Piano Lesson” Reading Notes 4/8 3. What does the piano symbolize for various characters in the play? Example Berniece, Boy Willie, and Doaker the piano symbolizes family heritage and the priceless nature of one’s past for Berniece-“Money can’t buy what that piano cost. You can’t sell your soul for money. It won’t go with the buyer. It’ll shrivel and shrink to know that you ain’t taken on it. But it won’t go with the buyer.” (50-51) it is a symbol of Berniece’s dedication to keeping her father’s legacy and finishing what he started before he died-“Now, that’s how all that got started and that why we say Berniece ain’t going to sell that piano. Cause her daddy died over it.” (46) for Boy Willie it symbolizes the possibility of economic freedom-“Lay my money down on the table. Get my deed and walk on out. This time I get to keep all the cotton. Hire some men to work it for me.” (11-12)
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