Berniece calls to her ancestors carved into the piano “I want you to help me” over and again and mentions several by name.  Her blues chant is urgent and sung directly to the carven images on the piano. They respond, first with the sound of a train whistle. The Ghosts of the Yellow Dog come north and upstairs to Boy Willie to flex the muscle they have been using to wreak havoc on the depraved and usurping Southern white landowners. But the family spirits are not vengeful in purpose. Their response is meant to scare Boy Willie from destroying the family heirloom and all it means.  The Ghosts echo Berniece’s plea for her freedom from this one man and from all men so that she can grow as a black woman and a person. Boy Willie is not killed, though he believes he would have been, perhaps because he had come so close to taking on the mantle of physical and economic and social oppressor and so come close to being white enough for the Ghosts of the Yellow Dog to feel justified in murderous revenge for their own burning deaths. The violence of the masculine world swirls around Berniece but she is the strong one here, seeing a solution, using her powers of heritage and voice to summon strength beyond mere gender and social inequality.  She is freed and in her new power remains humble enough to call out once more a gospel chant of “Thank you” to those who aided her and those who might have gained a certain freedom in this Northland.  Perhaps the Ghosts of the Yellow Dog no longer need to kill and can move on having seen an open frontier, flawed mightily but freer, in Berniece’s last stand, maybe her first strong stand since the death of her husband, and in echo to her independence the Ghosts are free.

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