2024 : 4 : 21
Mohammad Ghaffary

Mohammad Ghaffary

Academic rank: Assistant Professor
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4012-0093
Education: PhD.
ScopusId: 55573741900
Faculty: Literature and Languages
Address: Arak University


Ideology and Ideological Apparatuses in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson: An Althusserian Reading
Althusser, Ideology, Ideological Apparatuses, ISA, August Wilson, The Piano Lesson
Researchers Mahdi Javidshad(PrimaryAdvisor)، Mohammad Ghaffary(Advisor)، Safa Sattar Yass(Student)


August Wilson had a wide interest in highlighting the perspectives of the life of the African Americans in his literature. His ever celebrated play The Piano Lesson (1987) reflects the suffering of the African Americans because of the slavery era and how that suffering had affected the life of the new generations. This study examines the perspectives of Althusser's theory of Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses. The primary focus of the study revolved around how ideological state apparatuses influence the generation of new social classes, aiding in the retention of control over individuals within capitalist societies. Those who want to violate that state order are the subject that the Repressive State Apparatuses (RSA) and Ideological State Apparatuses (ISA) try to gain their surrender either by convincing or through higher levels of repression. The study applies Louis Althusser's theory of Ideology and Ideological Apparatuses to analyze how August Wilson's play "The Piano Lesson" portrays the interplay between cultural beliefs and social structures, revealing how characters' struggles reflect broader ideological conflicts. The results revealed that within the context of family ISA, Bernice assumed the role of an agent aiming to persuade her brother, Boy Willy, into adopting a stance aligned with the ideologies upheld by the ruling classes. This effort predominantly relied on ideological persuasion, supplemented by occasional employment of violence or repression as secondary means. Subsequently, the study introduced the agent representing religious ISA, embodied by Avery. Avery leveraged his Christian authority in an attempt to exorcise the ghost from the house. In doing so, he aimed to transform Boy Willy, one of the central characters, into a compliant subject in service of the ruling classes. This analysis of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson" through an Althusserian lens underscores how ideology and ideological apparatuses impact characters and societal structures, shedding light on the intricate interplay between dominant beliefs, institutions, and power dynamics within the narrative.