The story of the piano originated from a time when slavery was highly practiced. This piano originally belonged to Joel Nolander, but was bought by Robert Sutter, Sutter’s grandfather. Although his wife adored the piano at first, she later changed her mind and wanted to have her slaves back. However, Joel Nolander refused. To console his wife, Sutter had Willis Boy come and engrave their images on the Piano. Willis on the other hand does not engrave his image and that of his mother on the Piano but also those of other family members. Thus a piano this family reminds them of the family members.
It is a history of several generations that were ahead of them. The piano had on it the history of this family. But every generation in this family has its own perception of the piano. The grandfather of Boy Willis saw this as an instrument that kept their history. He was glad enough to record the story of his family on this piece of wood. However, his son Boy Charles strongly considered that since their images were on the piano which was owned by their slave master, they would never cease to be slaves. Therefore, the piano was a symbol of slavery and it a picture of slavery to them.
He, together with his brothers Doaker and Wining Boy steals the piano which finally causes him to die. His wife Mama Ola would later clean the piano using her own hands until they bled probably in mourning of her husband (August, 11). On the other hand, there is a divided view between children of Boy Charles on the place the Piano holds in their lives. Berniece, the daughter of Boy Charles believes that the Piano is an important instrument in their lives since it defines who they. To paraphrase in her words, it defines their legacy. She considers the piano to be divine and would therefore want to keep in possession.
Boy Willis on the other hand thinks that though the piano signifies a lot when it comes to history and legacy, it is not important than for a man to be able to have a sense of livelihood, being able to provide for himself and his family and owning something that will cause him to enjoy the same rights as a Whiteman. To him, money is important because it will enable him to buy land than having a piano that preserves the past legacy. He believes true legacy is having possession in this world. The piano too contributes greatly to the theme of music, money and ghosts.
It contributes to the theme of money in that Boy Willis needs money and thinks that the best way to obtain some quick money is by selling the piano. He sees the piano as an opportunity to get money to buy Sutter’s piece of land. The piano too is an instrument of music and contributes greatly to the music theme. When Mama Ola wanted to communicate to the spirit of her late husband, she let Berniece play the piano and sing and she could hear her husband. When Boy Willis is attacked by the ghost of Sutter, Berniece again plays some music using the piano which brings back the spirits of their ancestors to fight for them.
Playing of music on this piano has been a way to communicate to the ghosts. This is seen in Mama Ola’s life when she wanted to talk with the spirit of her husband, as well as in the life of the siblings when they were attacked by Sutter’s ghost. The ghost of Sutter too came back because Boy Willis wanted to sell the piano in order to buy his land. From all this we can learn that it is hand to get rid of our past. While we can be able to get over our past, we cannot forget. There are things that are like marks in our lives and we cannot get rid of them. La Belle Dame Sans Merci
There are various elements of imagery that are portrayed in the poem La Belle Dame sans merci. Keats likens love to hurt. While he talks about how beautiful the woman he had met was, he describes her eyes as being wild. While he tried to love this woman, she wept. While the harvest time was over and winter was setting, he doesn’t sit at home to enjoy it but goes on wandering until he meets this woman. This poem has form also. Its form is steady flow with the first and the third line in seeming to be the longest while the second and fourth line in the stanza being a little bit shorter.
The poem seems to flow in every stanza. There is also the element of allusion in this poem. In the last three stanzas, the writer compared himself to kings and princes who had met this woman in his dreams and the suffering they had gone through when they fell in love with this woman. The poem also has rhyme in it. All the stanzas have four lines. This maintains the flow of the poem. The last sentence in every stanza, though different from each other, is written in such a way that is has the same sounds.
This poem portrays the pain human beings go through when after discovering something that may bring in a lot of happiness, soon realizes that they cannot keep it. For example, the knight thought he had discovered a woman to love only to wake up and find out that he is alone. In his dream too, he dreams about many others who have gone through the same agony, including kings and princes who have suffered because they could not keep their newly discovered love (Feats, Stanza 10 and 11).
Works Cited August, Wilson. The Piano Lesson. New York, USA: Published by the Penguin Group. (1990). Keats, John. La Belle Dame sans merci. (1819).
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Topic: The Piano Lesson
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