The Piano Lesson
Race Quotes Page 4
How we cite our quotes:
Berniece: (Singing.) "I want you to help me/I want you to help me/Mama Berniece/I want you to help me/Mama Esther/I want you to help me/Papa Boy Charles/I want you to help me/Mama Ola/I want you to help me" (2.5.203)
Ah, here we are again. When Berniece calls on the spirits of her ancestors, she's drawing on the ancient strength of her race. The stage directions even say that the song is "A rustle of wind across two continents" (2.5.202). We're pretty sure those two continents are Africa and North America. When Berniece plays this song, she's appealing to her essential African-ness.