The Piano Lesson
How we cite our quotes:
Avery: "Reverend Thompson used to preach on the Ghosts of the Yellow Dog as the hand of God." (2.2.39)
Here again we see a blend of folk beliefs and Christianity. Avery learned in his hometown church that the Ghosts of the Yellow Dog were actually a tool of God. In Avery's mind, God uses the Ghosts to punish those who deserve it. Some might see belief in ghosts to be at odds with Christianity, but for Avery the two go hand in hand.
Berniece: "when I played [the piano] she could hear my daddy talking to her." (2.2.46)
When Berniece played the piano it allowed her mother to speak to the dead. In some ways, this makes Berniece seem almost like a priestess in the African tradition. Communicating with the dead and ancestor worship is major part of many religious traditions. For more information, check out this link.
Berniece: "I used to think them pictures came alive and walked through the house. […] I don't play that piano cause I don't want to wake them spirits. They never be walking around in this house." (2.2.46)
Notice that Berniece uses the word "spirits" here, instead of ghosts. This strengthens the idea of her as a priestess. The idea of communicating with the dead was once thought of as a spiritual practice, not just hocus pocus. You could say then that in some ways Berniece is cutting herself off from her spiritual heritage by not playing the piano.