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Final Presentation

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Saad Kazi

on 29 April 2010

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Transcript of Final Presentation

His Past Grew up in a black slum His family would rely on welfare cheques David Bedford became Wilson's stepfather, when he was a teenager His father Frederik August Wilson, a baker by trade, was a German and rarely made appearence at the family appartement About him Dedicated himself to writing plays that would bring forth black people experiences during crucial historic periods. His sense of commitment to the cause of Black-Americawhich is to allow black men and women to tell American historyin the form of poetry and writing. "the mesage of America is'Leave your Africanness outside the door', my message is claim what is yours" He believes in Lawrence Levine saying, whio was an influential historian in the mid 20 century. "From the first African captives, through the years if slavery, and into the present centuryblack Americans kept alive important strands of African consciousness and verbal art in the humour, song, dance, tales, flok beliefs and aphorisms". His Life Since childhood , Wilson was getting bored of racism. At the age of 15, Wilson dropped out of school and began to self-educate himself. Began reading books by Langston Hughes, Richard Wright and many other black writers, and was strongly attracted to the use of word play. He would listen to conversations he heard, while he would be at a coffee shop or street corner, and would use these bits and pieces of conversation he remebered to create a story of his own. What Influenced His Style of Writing Most ideas came from conversation he would over-hear, images and lyrics from the blues songs. Virtually all his characters sing the Bluesto display theirfeelings and emotions at key moments in the play. "I have always consciouslybeen chasing the musicians" " Its like our culture is in the music. And the writers are way behind the musicians today. So I'm trying to close the gap." August Wilson has written many plays. 1979 - Jitney
1982- Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
1983 - Fences
1984 - Joe Turner's Come and Gone
1986 - The Piano Lessons
1990 - Two Trains Running
1995 - Seven Guitars
2001 - King Hedley II
2003 - Gem on the Ocean
2005 - Radio Golf The Piano Lessons Plot - The action takes place in Doaker’s house, where his niece, Berniece (has been staying for three years after her husband’s death (Crawley)), and her daughter Maretha live. Berniece’s brother, Boy Willie had just arrived from down south with his friend Lymon. The two men have stolen a truck filled with watermelon and have hauled to sell them. However, we soon realized that Boy Willie’s intension to visit his sister was simply so he could sell the family heirloom, the family piano—with or against her will. With the money he earns by selling the melons and the piano he wants to buy land from the Sutter family, so he can be an independent farmer of his own. This topic becomes a big family problem and in the second scene of the novel, Doaker teaches Boy Willie a lesson and tells him the history behind that piano. He says that the story goes back to the slavery time when, Robert Sutter wanted to but a piano for his wife for their anniversary.
Since Robert had no money he traded one and half slaves ( that would be Doaker’s grandmother (also named Berniece) and his father. However Sutter’s wife began to miss her slaves and asked to trade back the piano for her slaves. When the offer was refused, Robert asked Doaker’s grandfather (also named Willie) to carve pictures of his wife and son onto the piano, so Ophelia (his wife) could have the piano and her slaves (niggers) too… After the Civil War the Charles’s were freed and became share-croppers for the Sutters. Berniece and Boy Willie’s father, Papa Boy Charles, decided to steal back the piano, and since then the piano has been a heirloom, and a symbol of pride and honor.
However what was more interesting about the play is the last scene where Lymon and Bob Willie are trying to run away with the piano and Berniece comes in, and threatens them with Crawley’s gun. Also as this moment, Avery (young priest, who was trying to get married to Berniece), steps in and tries to exorcize Sutters spirits, and bless the house. However, Avery says that, the spirits are too powerful and that he can’t do it. And then Berniece says that she know what she must do, and begins to play the piano, calling her ancestors to help her. And soon the Sutters spirits were exorcized and, Boy Willie tells Bessie to continue playing the piano as he headed toward his room.
Quotes from Play “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. That's what I learned when I killed that cat. I got the power of death too.” – Boy Willie “All this thieving and killing and thieving and killing. And what it ever lead to? More killing and more thieving.” - Berniece “That's the difference between the colored man and the white man. The colored man can't fix nothing with the law.” - Wining Boy “Now what I done learned after 27 years of railroading is this... if the train stays on the track... it's going to get where it's going. It might not be where you going. If it ain't, then all you got to do is sit and wait cause the train's coming back to get you. The train don't never stop.” – Doaker August Wilson
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