The Piano Lesson By August Wilson – Berniece Monologue
Context: Berniece argues in defense of keeping the piano, and thereby the ancestors’s legacy, in opposition to supporting the violent ways of Boy Willie.
Berniece: You ain‘t taking that piano out of my house. (She crosses to the piano) Look at this piano. Look at it. Mama Ola polished this piano with her tears for seventeen years. For seventeen years she rubbed on it till her hands bled. Then she rubbed the blood in … mixed it up with the rest of the blood on it. Every day that God breathed life into her body she rubbed and cleaned and polished and prayed over it. ―Play something for me, Bernice. Play something for me, Bernice. Every day. ―I cleaned it up for you, play something for me, Bernice. You always talking about your daddy but you ain‘t never stopped to look at what his foolishness cost your mama. Seventeen years‘ worth of cold nights and an empty bed. For what? For a piano? For a piece a wood? To get even with somebody? I look at you and you‘re all the same. You, Papa Boy Charles, Wining Boy, Doaker, Crawley . . . you‘re all alike. All this thieving and killing and thieving and killing. And what it ever lead to? More killing and thieving. I ain‘t never seen it come to nothing. People getting burned up. People getting shot. People falling down their wells. It don‘t never stop.