Powerlessness of the Marginalized: A Reading of August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson”

Mahdi Baghfalaki, Zeinab Mahmoudibaha


Abstract: Regarding African Americans’ struggle for survival in racial segregated society of America, male characters struggling with economic problems due to their inability to find adequate work is a re-occurring theme in Wilson's plays, which weakens their authority position in the family. The Piano Lesson, like Wilson's other plays, articulates the debility of black subjugated males to perform effectively in their social expected roles. Most of the male characters in the play are marginal members of a racial society that has squeezed them out of its workforce. Consequently, they resort to cheap moneymaking tactics such as selling watermelons, hauling and stealing wood, or participating in other schemes for quick profit. Boy Willie, Lymon, Wining Boy, and Avery represent the various approaches the powerless marginalized black men adopted to be considered men in America. This paper is aimed to study the powerlessness of these marginalized male characters to perform their social expected gender roles.


Keywords: Marginalization, Powerlessness, African American, August Wilson, The Piano Lesson

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