The Piano Lesson
by August Wilson
The Piano Lesson Race Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.
Boy Willie: "It's hard to figure out white folks sometimes." (2.4.21)
Boy Willie isn't quite sure if he got the best deal when bargaining to sell the piano. Sometimes he finds it hard to read white people. The play is filled with statements like this that highlight the cultural divide between white and black.
Lymon: "White folks got a lot of money." (2.4.22)
After slavery was abolished, many black people were still left in poverty. Jim Crow laws and other racial barriers made it hard for former slaves to get ahead. As a result, there was a large economic gap between the majority of African Americans and the majority of white people.
Boy Willie: "See, a nigger that ain't afraid to die is the worse kind of nigger for the white man. He can't hold that power over you." (2.5.29)
Many black people were held in check through fear of violence. Even though slavery had been abolished by the 1930s, there was still racially motivated violence throughout the South. Many black people feared being lynched by members of the violent, white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan.