Essay on The Lesson By Toni Cade Bambara

Essay on The Lesson By Toni Cade Bambara

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The subject of equality and inequality are a sensitive and controversial topic. Both equality and inequality were portrayed in the short story, “The Lesson.” In this short story by Toni Cade Bambara, Miss Moore, a well known woman in the neighborhood, gives the children in her local area a lesson about the brutal inequalities that are in existence within the socioeconomic status system. This leads the children to ponder about the equality and inequality that exists within society. Toni Cade Bambara uses her short story, “The Lesson” in order to shed light on the injustices and racial inequalities in society. The goal of the story is to not only fight for racial equalities, but socioeconomic equalities as well.
A world of class and economic distinction emerged on a class of students from Harlem one day while on a trip with their teacher to FAO Schwartz Toy Store. Miss Moore intentionally targets expensive toys that are unobtainable for the children due to financial reasons; she does this in order to expose the children to what life is like for those who do not live in an oppressed community as them. This method of instruction has an impact so far on the children as they begin to contemplate the prices of extravagant items and the lifestyle of those who can afford these items: “Who are these people that spend that much for performing clowns and $1000 for toy sailboats? What kinda work they do and how they live and how come we ain 't in on it?” (Bambara 352) The longer, Sylvia thought about the question, the more anger she felt towards her teacher for bringing them to a place where they did not feel adequate enough. The goal of this trip was to rudely awaken the minds of a class full of youth that have been confined t...


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...in his literary essay on “The Lesson”, “rather than simply teaching a single lesson, the story is essentially about the value of lessons themselves, the value of learning and thinking.” (Cartwright 61)
“The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara contains significant themes of life and the value of an education. Bambara gives the readers insight on the poverty and struggle minorities endured while living in the ghetto slums of New York. The goal of the author was coherent and exemplified throughout the story; Bambara had plenty of goals when writing this story. Although the fight for racial equalities were apparent in “The Lesson,” this was not the only aspect being fought for. Social and economic equalities were also fought for in this story. Bambara’s goal was set loud and clear throughout this story: the fight for racial and socioeconomic equalities is never ending.

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