The Piano Lesson Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. After the story about Boy Charles' death, what does the family hear Maretha doing at the end of the first act?

2. How does Sutter kill Boy Charles?

3. What was Wining Boy's occupation while he was married?

4. Which of the following characters is NOT involved in stealing the piano from the Sutter home?

5. What sound is heard by the characters who attempt to move the piano?

Short Essay Questions

1. What connection does Doaker make between travel and happiness?

2. What religious rationalization does Boy WIllie have for the revenge he is seeking against the Sutter family?

3. What happens when Berniece threatens Boy Willie with the gun?

4. What story does Boy Willie tell his sister about the dog he had as a child?

5. How do Boy Willie and Lymon end up in Pittsburgh?

6. What does Boy Willie believe about the laws of the white man?

7. What happens between Boy Willie and Grace once they left to return to her apartment?

8. What type of encounter does Boy Willie explain that he has had with the piano's potential buyer on his way home from Grace's?

9. What happens when Boy Willie and Lymon attempt to move the piano for its potential buyer?

10. How did Sutter react to the disappearance of his prized piano?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

The title of this play has special significance within the meaning of the play. What do you think is the true "piano lesson," and why do you think August Wilson chose to title his play this way?

Essay Topic 2

The text of "The Piano Lesson" is presented as a play rather than straight prose. What reasons do you think August Wilson had to present his story this way? What was gained in the form of stage writing? What was lost?

Essay Topic 3

There are many examples of prisons throughout this play, which are figurative, symbolic, and literal. Choose two examples of imprisonments that the characters find themselves in and compare/contrast the impact of the imprisonment in one of the character's lives. Briefly explain what that character does to fight against the various imprisonments in his or her life.

(see the answer keys)

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