In “The Piano Lesson” by August Wilson, controversy surrounds a household and it involves everyone who enters its doors. This drama does a good job of illustrating the problems and issues created by two siblings who cannot see eye to eye over a debate involving a piano that is rich with their family heritage. Wilson uses several different tones to show the feelings that his characters have towards one another, through language and dialogue this play gives the reader the sense of tension, especially between Boy Willie and Berniece, but at other times it is relaxed and sentimental. This constant change is instrumental in knowing how the characters feel towards each other.
From the very beginning of this play, when Boy Willie first pounded on the door, Wilson gave us an idea of what kind of a person Boy Willie is. The first few lines of dialogue between Doaker and Boy Willie are that of impatience and urgency, as we can tell by Boy Willie’s insistent knocking and ranting. Doaker is somewhat surprised to see his nephew Boy Willie, and the dialogue between the two is not of complete jubilation, but they are happy to see each other after three years.
Boy Willie: Hey, Doaker.Doaker! Hey Doaker! Hey .
Doaker: Who is it?.
Boy Willie: Open the door, nigger! It’s me.Boy Willie!.
Boy Willie: Boy Willie! Open the door!.
Doaker: What you doing up hear?.
Boy Willie: I told you, Lymon. Lymon talking about you might be sleep. This is Lymon. You remember Lymon Jackson from down home? This my uncle Doaker.
Boy Willie and his friend from down south Lymon excitedly explain to Doaker why they came up north with a truck full of watermelons. Boy Willie emphatically expresses that he wants Berniece to come downstairs to say hi to him, and Doaker advises against it.
As we see right away, Boy Willie is not one to stay quiet for very long. After hollering for a while, Berniece enters the room, and again right away we get a sense of what this character is like.