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. What does Doaker believe is the significance of Sutter's blue suit?

2. Which of the following was NOT an element in Avery's significant dream?

3. Lymon and Boy Willie have come to sell what fruit?

4. What does Avery do for a living?

5. Which character believes that life would be much easier if people stayed at home and appreciated their lives instead of traveling?

Short Essay Questions

1. What were the effects of the lumber theft that the men in the play were involved in?

2. What was Ophelia's reaction to the trade between her husband and Nolander?

3. Why did Berneice stop playing the piano as a child?

4. What lesson does Boy Willie give Maretha on the piano?

5. Why won't Wining Boy play the piano when he is asked to?

6. What kind of fight does Boy Willie get into with Sutter's ghost?

7. What does Avery tell Berniece when he comes to visit her while she is preparing a bath?

8. Why does Boy Willie tease Doaker about his profession?

9. Whose ghost does Berniece think that she sees, and what does it tell her?

10. What does Berniece ask Avery to do after Maretha has seen Sutter's ghost, and how does Avery respond?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The piano itself is arguably the strongest symbol in the entire play. Explain the history of the piano and briefly discuss why the physical structure of the piano can be seen as a symbol within the Charles family.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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