© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Piano Lesson

The Piano Lesson

by August Wilson

The Piano Lesson Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Memory and the Past

August Wilson has been quoted as saying, "My generation of blacks knew very little about the past of our parents. They shielded us from the indignities they suffered" (source). The playwright felt...

Arts and Culture: Music

You might not be surprised that a play entitled The Piano Lesson is full of music. The play features many types of music throughout, specifically focusing on African-American styles. The blues, boo...

Race

The Piano Lesson, like all of the plays in August Wilson's ten-play Pittsburgh Cycle, deals with issues of race. The goal of the cycle is to document the African-American experience in the twentiet...

Slavery

The Piano Lesson is set in 1937, almost 80 years after slavery was abolished in America. However, the shadow of slavery is still very much felt in the play. The Piano Lesson shows how blacks in Ame...

The Supernatural

The Piano Lesson is in many ways a straight-up ghost story. The Charles family is being haunted by the ghost of Sutter, whose family once owned theirs. Of course, the Charles family has a few ghost...

Rules and Order

The Piano Lesson in many ways questions the law. On a whole, the play seems to highlight the way in which America's legal system has a history of injustice. For example, slavery was once legal, and...

Spirituality

The Piano Lesson presents an interesting blend of spirituality. The presence of Christianity is definitely felt in the play, mostly through Avery, a black minister. However, the characters in the p...

Women and Femininity

There are only two female characters in The Piano Lesson, Berniece and her eleven-year-old daughter Maretha (OK, Grace too, but she has a really small roll). All the same, womankind has a strong vo...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement