The Piano by Jane Campion Summary & Analysis

D.H Lawrence
D.H Lawrence

The Piano tells the story of Ada McGrath and her daughter Flora. Ada may be a mute Scotswoman whose muteness isn’t caused by a medical condition but an unexplained psychological one that manifested itself when she was six and since then she has only communicated through her beloved piano, and also using signing which is now interpreted by her daughter. Ada’s father sells her into a wedding with a chilly and emotionally remote frontiersman in New Zealand, shipping both Ada and Flora to the opposite side of the planet.

Ada is so bound up in her piano playing that she is nearly oblivious to the remainder of the planet and had little or no interest in it. Ada, Flora, and their belongings, including her piano, are dumped on a replacement Zealand beach by the crew of the ship they’re traveling on and with nobody waiting to satisfy them find themselves spending the night on the beach sheltering beneath a small tent formed from the frame of a hoop skirt. within the morning, Ada’s new husband Alisdair arrives with a Maori crew and his closest friend, Baines, who is an alarming-looking man thanks to his embracing of the Maori custom of facial tattooing. There aren’t enough men to hold all of the belongings so despite Ada’s pleas to the contrary the piano is left behind at the beach.

Alastair tells Ada his home is too small to accommodate a piano, causing her to spend all of her time attempting to return up with how to urge her piano back, and making no effort to urge to understand him in the least. As she cannot communicate with him she takes Flora to satisfy with Baines and begs to be taken to her piano. He agrees, and therefore the three spend the day at the beach taking note of Ada to play tunes. it’s clear that Baines is interested in Ada and it’s her passion for music that’s inspiring his passion for Ada.

He decides to retrieve the piano himself and offers Alasdair some land that he wants reciprocally for Ada giving him piano lessons. Alasdair is oblivious to his friend’s attraction to his wife and agrees to the deal. Ada is happily surprised to seek out he had had the piano tuned perfectly since rescuing it from the beach and delighted to be playing it again, learning that Baines doesn’t want her to show him to play the piano but would really like to concentrate to her whilst she plays. Baines devises how during which Ada can earn the piano back, one key at a time, letting him do things he likes whilst she plays. Ada is interested in Baines and agrees.

The Piano
            D.H Lawrence

Ada’s playing arouses Baines to such a degree that he approaches her openly in an attempt to possess sex with her; Ada cannot fight her desire for him and that they roll in the hay. After learning from Flora that Baines listens to Ada playing but never features a lesson himself, Alasdair finally realizes that there’s an attraction between them. He discovers them together and boards up his home with Ada inside when he goes bent work on his timberland. Alasdair becomes angry when she pulls faraway from his touch. He elicits a promise from her to not visit with Baines whilst he’s gone. She agrees but sends Flora to ascertain Baines and deliver a piano key inscribed with a love message. Flora is unhappy about this infidelity and takes the key to him instead. Alisdair is so enraged that he returns home carrying an ax and chops off Ada’s finger to deprive her of playing the piano.

After she recovers, Alisdair dissolves their marriage and both Ada and Flora are sent away, leaving from an equivalent beach that they had arrived onto. Whilst they’re being rowed bent the ship Ada tells Baines to throw the piano overboard because she is doing it a disservice by being unable to play. He obliges, but because it sinks she loops the ropes attached thereto round her foot and follows the piano underwater. As she sinks deeper and deeper Ada features a change of heart and kicks free in order that she will be pulled back to the boat.

The movie ends with Ada describing her life with Baines in England, where she gives piano lessons because of a silver finger that has replaced the one Alisdair severed. We leave the film with the Thomas Hood quote from his poem “Silence” which also opened the primary scene.

“There may be a silence where hath been no sound. there’s a silence where no sound could also be within the cold grave under the deep, deep sea.”