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. Which character is said to have played the carved piano until his/her death?

2. Where does Berniece bring her daughter at the end of the first act, in the first scene?

3. After meeting a ghost on the railroad tracks, Wining Boy claims that he has had good luck for how long?

4. What does Boy Willie think is the most significant part of the piano?

5. What has Wining Boy brought to the city to pawn?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Berniece find out that Boy Willie intends to remove the piano that day, and how does she respond?

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

4. How does Lymon come into possession of Wining Boy's suit?

5. Why does Berniece send Maretha to the store on the day that Boy Willie intends to remove the piano?

6. What conflict arises between the siblings surrounding the future of the piano?

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

8. When Wining Boy arrives at Doaker's home, he wants to know what is happening with Boy Willie and his sales. What does Doaker tell him?

9. What realization does Boy Willie make when he hears his heart beating as a "black man's heart"?

10. After his failed date, what gift does Lymon give to Berniece, and what is her response to the gesture?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Even though there are many characters who have passed away in the play, the living characters seem to believe that they are still able to communicate with the dead. Give two examples of moments within the play that living characters attempt to speak with the dead. Compare / contrast their methods of speaking with the dead and compare / contrast the outcome of their "conversations."

Essay Topic 2

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 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?

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