The Piano Lesson

Role of History and Past in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson College

Afro-American writers made the political choice of speaking up for themselves by articulating their thoughts, when they veritably vowed to own their legacy and their values. The average African-American who had not only been divested from his history and heritage, but also had been dissevered from the mainstream social life, was addressed by Wilson in the subsequent words, “the preservation and promotion, the propagation and rehearsal of the value of one’s ancestors is the surest way to a full and productive life” (qtd. in Pease 3). August Wilson’s play The Piano Lesson is a piece of literary articulation that outlines the psychological impact that the white supremacist social order had on the black surrogates for many generations. It explores how the dismantling of the black subjection, which according to Orlando Patterson resulted in the “social death” of the blacks, pushed them to experience “natal alienation and the sense of kinlessness” (qtd. in Pease 5). Amidst all of this, history and family legacy were elements that played a munificent role in helping the African-Americans to connect themselves with their roots and celebrate the true spirit of freedom.

Wilson, in his play, focuses on the abject turmoil that an...

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