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The Piano Lesson

The Piano Lesson


by August Wilson

The Piano Lesson Act 2, Scene 1 Summary

  • Lights rise on the kitchen the following morning.
  • Doaker is singing a song about trains and ironing his uniform.
  • Wining Boy enters, carrying a silk suit of clothes.
  • Evidently, he was just trying to sell them at a pawn shop, but they said the suit was too old. They were only going to give him three dollars for it, but Wining Boy says it's worth at least five.
  • They talk about how Maretha is scared to sleep upstairs since she saw Sutter's ghost.
  • Doaker admits that he saw Sutter's ghost three weeks ago, but didn't say anything about it because he didn't want to upset Berniece.
  • Wining Boy asks if Sutter called Boy Willie's name.
  • No, says Doaker. The ghost was sitting at the piano.
  • Doaker thinks that the piano is the reason Sutter's ghost has come into the house. He says that he heard the piano playing one time by itself.
  • Doaker thinks that Berniece ought to get rid of the piano, because it's the source of all this trouble.
  • Wining Boy says he doesn't care if Sutter's ghost hangs out by the piano; he thinks they should keep it.
  • Wining Boy borrows seven dollars from Doaker.
  • Boy Willie and Lymon burst into the room.
  • They're really happy because they sold tons of watermelons today and made lots of money.
  • Wining Boy sells Lymon his silk suit for four dollars, telling him that he'll be sure to get a woman tonight if buys the suit.
  • Wining Boy also sells Lymon a pair of shoes that are too small for three more dollars.
  • Lymon gets excited about his new outfit and hopes that he'll get lots of women tonight.
  • He goes upstairs to try on his suit.
  • Boy Willie says that all Lymon thinks about is women.
  • Wining Boy says that Lymon's daddy was the same way.
  • Apparently, Wining Boy used to hang out with him.
  • Wining Boy tells a story about a time that Lymon's daddy got put in jail.
  • Wining Boy was playing piano in a bar when Lymon's mother came and borrowed a hundred dollars to get Lymon's daddy out of jail.
  • He gave her the money.
  • She was so grateful that she and Wining Boy spent the night together.
  • When Lymon's father got out of jail, he suspected something, but didn't say anything.
  • Wining Boy says that Lymon's father was "one bad-luck nigger" (2.1.68). He ended up getting shot at a dance by someone who thought he was someone else.
  • Doaker enters dressed in his railroad uniform ready for work.
  • Lymon enters, wearing his new suit.
  • Wining Boy tells him he looks great. He says the suit is magic and is guaranteed to get Lymon a woman.
  • As the men exit, Wining Boy and Doaker give the younger men advice on how to pick up the ladies.

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