The Piano Lesson By August Wilson – Boy Willie Monologue


Context: Boy Willie asserts his commitment to living at the top of life, even though he feels how he and his family started at the bottom.

Boy Willie: What I want to bring a child into this world for? Why I wanna bring somebody else into all this for? I‘ll tell you this . . . If I was Rockefeller I‘d have forty or fifty. I‘d make one everyday. Cause they gonna start out in life with all the advantages. I ain‘t got no advantages to offer nobody. Many is the time I looked at my daddy and seen him staring off at his hands. I got a little older I know what he was thinking. He sitting there saying, ―I got these big hands but what I‘m gonna do with them? Best I can do is make a fifty-acre crop for Mr. Stovall. Got these big old hands capable of doing anything. I can take and build something with these hands. But where‘s the tools? All I got is these hands. Unless I go out here and kill me somebody and take what they got . . . it‘s a long row to hoe for me to get something of my own. So what I‘m gonna do with these big old hands? What would you do? See now . . . if he had his own land he wouldn‘t have felt that way. If he had something under his feet that belonged to him he could stand up taller. That‘s what I‘m talking about. Hell, the land is there for everybody. All you got to do is figure out how to get you a piece. Ain‘t no mystery to life. You just got to go out and meet it square on. If you got a piece of land you‘ll find everything else fall right into place. You stand right up next to the white man and talk about the price of cotton . . . the weather, and anything else you want to talk about. If you teach that girl that she is living at the bottom of life, she‘s gonna grow up and hate you.

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