What does the South represent to the different characters?THE PIANO LESSONS BY AUGUST WILSON

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The South is referred to as "down home" often in The Piano Lesson. This is where every character in the play has come from, though the action of the play takes place in Pittsburgh.

Like the actual piano in the play, the South represents a somewhat complex set of ideas including slavery, social constraints, "home" and family origin. The characters have mixed feelings about the South, just as they have mixed feelings about the piano.

Looking at particular characters, we can say that the South represents tradition and familiarity for Boy Willie; a socially restrictive and dangerous culture for Lymon; and tragedy for Berniece (who lost her father and husband by violence in the South). For the older characters Wining Boy and Doaker, the South represents a personal and family history and has already come to an end.


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