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The Piano Lesson Essay, Research Paper

Defend Boy Willie’s Scheme for Buying Sutter’s Land.

In The Piano Lesson, written by August Wilson, Boy Willie devises a scheme for buying Sutter’s land. Boy Willie has one part of the money saved up. He will sell the watermelons for the second part. Then he will sell the piano for a third part. The only debating issue in Boy Willie’s scheme is the piano. Berniece does not want to sell the piano. This is the only reason for a defense in Boy Willie’s scheme. Therefore, I will defend Boy Willie’s issue of selling the piano and how that liberates him in reference to his scheme for buying Sutter’s land.

The first defense is the usage of the piano. In Wilson’s novel, Berniece never uses the piano, Boy Willie: “ You can’t do nothing with that piano except sit up there and look at it”, Berniece, “That’s just what I’m gonna do” (p.50). The piano is a “sentimental value” (p.51) to Berniece. Her father died over the piano (p.42-46). Boy Willie argues even though the piano is of sentimental value, Berniece is not using it. He wants to sell it in order to buy land, seed, and workers, which will in turn produce a crop, and something will come out of that (p.51).

The second defense is that of equality. Boy Willie believes how a certain individual perceives himself determines what that individual really is in reality (p.92). He also believes that white men have one advantage over black men and that is, “ The colored man can’t fix nothing with the law” (p.38). Boy Willie desires to be equal to the white man (p.92). Also, equality ties into the above paragraph in which Berniece does not use the piano. Boy Willie will use the money from the piano along with the profit from the other two sources and get his land. Obtaining this goal will make him equal to the white man (p.92). Boy Willie will never work for anyone other than for himself.

The last defense is that of Boy Willie’s father. Boy Willie admires his father. He remembers one key thing about his father as a child, “ I got these big old hands but what I’m gonna do with them?” He feels that the piano was his father’s gift to him (p.46). Boy Willie’s grandfather did not have anything to leave Boy Willie’s father but Boy Willie’s feels that his father left him the piano. He uses this in one argumental conversation against Berniece (p.46). Boy Willie strongly feels that if his father had the opportunity to possess his own land then his father would have sold the piano (p.51, 88, 94).

Throughout the novel Boy Willie and his sister, Berniece, struggle over the conflict in the selling of the piano. Boy Willie doesn’t want to follow the rules. He lives but what he believes is right and true (p.38). Boy Willie doesn’t want to live quietly and go long with the way everything is. He wants to leave his mark everywhere he goes (p.94). I believe the above paragraphs well defend Boy Willie’s arguments with the issue with the piano. Everyone, regardless who you are, wants to become something more. Everyone has dreams. I know I do.


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