week 4 discussion 99

Your post should be 2 pages in length. MLA double spaces

As Maisha L. Wester argues in her book, African American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places, a number of contemporary African American authors have employed gothic elements in their literary works to underscore the ways in which slavery still continues to haunt the political and cultural discourses of the United States today. In August Wilson: A Literary Companion, Mary Ellen Snodgrass identifies Wilson as one such author, and she argues that “recurrent motifs of the Gothic mode enliven Wilson’s [plays],” particularly The Piano Lesson, citing macabre terrors (Sutter’s fall down a well), eeriness (the exorcism of Sutter’s ghost with the help of ancestral spirits), and haunted objects (the piano itself) as examples (91).

In this week’s discussion board post, explain the legacy of slavery in the lives of the African American characters in The Piano Lesson. How fully do the major characters (e.g. Berniece, Boy Willie, Doaker, etc.) acknowledge slavery’s influence? How does each character try to break free of it? And finally, how do the play’s gothic elements contribute to our understanding of slavery’s lingering power to shape the attitudes and behavior of the characters in The Piano Lesson? Note that you do not need to write about each character, but you should aim to discuss 2-3 of the main characters listed above in relation to these questions.


Your primary post should include an introduction that introduces the topic and ends with a clearly worded, 1-2 sentence thesis statement. Each supporting paragraph (there should be at least 3) should begin with a strong topic sentence and should incorporate evidence, including direct quotations from the short stories as needed to support your argument. Direct quotations should be incorporated using the quotation sandwich method and proper MLA in-text citations. The post should also contain a strong conclusion.

Offer thoughtful feedback on at least 2 of your classmates’ posts.

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