If you could write an alternative ending to August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, what would it be?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that there could be several different approaches to this particular question.  I would say that one distinct ending would be for Berniece to give the piano to Boy Willie.  I think that it would have been interesting to see Berniece's character argue that the past and reconciling it might transcend the physicality of the piano.  Certainly, this is now where Wilson's emphasis might lie, but it might be a unique pivot for Berniece to simply argue that the piano is not needed in her reconceptualization of the past.  Certainly, this would change the nature of the drama because it is one that creates the basic conflict and drives the plot.  I think that it would be a very interesting take on the characterization and the thematic value of the drama if Berniece simply argues that her history and the past narratives can exist outside of the physicality of the piano.  In a roundabout manner, this is grasped by the end of the drama.  Yet, to create Berniece in a manner where she does not need the piano to understand her conceptualization of the past and her place within it.  This would make her a character that would transcend what is and move her characterization into a domain where the notion of past reclamations is outside the realm of the external.  This might be an interesting take and ending to the drama.

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The Piano Lesson

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