Essay on The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara

Essay on The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara

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Sometimes growing up we experience situations that can change our perspective on life. Especially, when these situations happen unexpectedly; we are in disbelief. In Toni Cade Bambara short story “The Lesson” written in first person; it delves into the struggle of a girl, Sylvia, who realizes the economic and social injustice surrounding her. However, with the help of Miss Moore Sylvia comes to grip with this issue, and opts to overcome it. In “The Lesson” Miss Moore wanted to impart on Sylvia and the other children is the value of a dollar, the importance of education, and to fathom the social and economic injustice that bounded them.
To begin with, Miss Moore, Sylvia, and the other children are from the “slums”. However, what differentiate Miss Moore and everyone else in the neighborhood is that she has a college education, and speaks Standard English. As a result, Miss Moore plays the role as teacher to the neighborhood children. Most of the children from the neighborhood were poverty stricken and had a ghetto vernacular. Especially, Sylvia, who mouth is atrocious and has a strong animosity towards Miss Moore. For instance,“Miss Moore was her name. The only woman on the block with no first name. And she was black as hell, cept for her feet, which were fish-white and spooky.” Moreover, Miss Moore has high expectations of the children, so she takes them on a trip outside the hood to unveil the real world. Before going on the trip to the toy store Miss Moore tried to explain the value of money to the children. For example, “So we heading down the street and she’s boring us silly about what things cost and what our parents make and how much goes for rent and how money ain’t divided up right in this country.” At first, Sylvia is t...


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...as stubborn and as irritated Sylvia was with Miss Moore, she actually gained something from the trip. Sylvia learn the value of money; as an illustration, "We could go to Hascombs and get half a chocolate layer and then go to the Sunset and still have plenty money for potato chips and ice cream sodas." Also, Sylvia gradually comes to grips to the social and economic injustice around her. And she begins to realize that they are no different than the “White folks” on the other side of town. For example, “We start down the block and she gets ahead which is O.K by me I’m going to the West End and then over to the Drive to think this day through. She can run if she want to and even run faster. But ain’t nobody gonna beat me at nuthin.” With this being said from this point on Sylvia knows she can do or become anything she wants and nobody can prevent her from doing so.

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