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More Research & Writing Help
For your final research paper, you will write a minimum 2200-2400 word paper about The Piano Lesson by August Wilson and Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, addressing one of the following prompts:
- Both plays explore the long-term effects of slavery in America on the contemporary family. Based on a careful reading of both plays, evaluate and analyze the impact on family. Your research might start with sociological or psychological studies on the effects of slavery on the American family. You might consider the similarities and differences between the impact on a Black family versus the impact on a White or biracial family. Further, consider how the American family overcomes this national trauma; how do the playwrights reveal this in their works, and how does that relate to sociological studies.
- Both plays evoke ghosts. Compare the similarities and contrast the differences in the ways ghosts are used in these plays. Your research might delve into issues of ghosts in slave history and common metaphors of ghosts in literature. As with all metaphors, ghosts have many complex meanings, which your research should dig into.
Your research should incorporate a minimum of three sources, including:
- At least two relevant works of literary criticism from the library, such as scholarly books or peer-reviewed articles from literary journals
- At least one play review or other source that discusses the play in production
The Piano Lesson by
Call Number: B 812.54 W746p 1990
Publication Date: 1990
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, this modern American classic is about family, and the legacy of slavery in America. At the heart of the play stands the ornately carved upright piano which, as the Charles family's prized, hard-won possession, has been gathering dust in the parlor of Berniece Charles's Pittsburgh home. When Boy Willie, Berniece's exuberant brother, bursts into her life with his dream of buying the same Mississippi land that his family had worked as slaves, he plans to sell their antique piano for the hard cash he needs to stake his future. But Berniece refuses to sell, clinging to the piano as a reminder of the history that is their family legacy.