The Piano Lesson
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)
Berniece's spirituality succeeds where Avery's fails. While his prayers to the Christian God don't succeed in getting rid of Sutter's ghost, Berniece's appeal to her ancestors does. Is the play saying that African Americans should look to their ancient African religions instead of Christianity, which was taught to them by their white slave masters? Or could you see the spirits that Berniece raises as being part of the Christian God? There are many different ways to interpret this moment. What do you think?