english composition 1302 : THE PIANO LESSON

Essay 1


The Piano Lesson


Choose a character; create a theme based on that character; write a literary analysis.


 12pt. Times Roman

 Double spaced

 1” margins T, B, L, R

 2-3 pages (shoot for 2.5 just to be safe with the length requirement)

 No research allowed


A possible procedure:


1. Read the play more than twice—the whole play.

2. Read it again.

3. Start thinking as you read which character seems most significant to you. Wonder why 

with yourself—maybe write down what you think

4. Think about what that character makes you think about—what does he or she (or it) 

trigger for you?

5. Read the play again. This time mark some significant places that explain why you think 

the way you do about the character.

6. Character analysis—What he or she says; What he or she does; What other characters say 

about him or her. Mark significant places in the play that seem to answer these questions.

7. Summarize all you have gathered into one sentence—a working theme.

8. Theme = Topic + the play’s lesson or argument, or stand on the topic through your 

chosen character.

9. Think of parts of the theme that your chosen character addresses.


Not alowed to use first or second person pronouns.

  • 1p = I, me, my, mine, we, us, our, ours, myself, ourself, ourselves.
  • 2p = you, your, you’re, yourself, yourselves


No BE verbs 

  • is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been,
  • other hidden monsters
    • it’s = it is
    • there’s = there is
    • here’s = here is
    • that’s = that is, etc. Avoid contractions, and these little monsters will not trip you up and steal your extra credit.


You CAN use third person pronouns all you want, as long as they agree with their antecedent:

he, she, it, his, her, hers, its, one, one’s, oneself, himself, herself, they, them, their, themselves


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