Essay about Point Of View: The Lesson

Essay about Point Of View: The Lesson

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Point of view is an essential element to a reader's comprehension of a story. The point of view shows how the narrator thinks, speaks, and feels about any particular situation. In Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson," the events are told through the eyes of a young, mischievous girl named Sylvia who lives in a lower class neighborhood. The reader gets a limited point of view of view because the events are told strictly by Sylvia. This fact can influence the reader to see things just as she does. The strong language gives an unfamiliar reader an illustration of how people in the city speak. Bambara does this to show the reader that kids from lower class neighborhoods are affected by their environment due to lack of education and discipline, that how different one part of society is from another, and that kids learn from experience. We also get an insight of Sylvia’s feisty, rebellious nature and her lack of respect towards people with an education.

To begin with, the reader gets a sense of Sylvia's personality in the beginning of the story as she talks about Miss Moore. Miss Moore is not the typical black woman in the neighborhood. She is well educated and speaks well. She has climbed up against the odds in a time where it was almost unheard of for a black woman to go to college. She is a role model for the children who encourages them to get more out of life. Sylvia's opinion of her is not one of fondness. She says that she hates Miss Moore as much as the "winos who pissed on our handball walls and stand up on our hallways and stairs so you couldn't halfway play hide and seek without a god damn mask”(357). By comparing the hatred with something she enjoys, we get to see what a child does in the slums for amusement. Sylvia feels t...


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...onna beat me at nuthin" (362). She understands that even if she has something, she has to work hard to get more and be successful. It also means that there is no obstacle that can stop her from achieving her goals.

Bambara wrote it from this point of view that people can see what it is like to grow up without a formal education and hardships these kids have to overcome. She wanted to also show the distinct personalities, characteristics, and habits that are a result from their environment. She uses it to contrast different social classes. Bambara also included Sylvia’s resentment towards Miss Moore to show how people of a lower social class are disrespectful towards educated people. But at the end, she felt confident that she can achieve her goals no matter where she came from, even if she did not expect Miss Moore to teach her a lesson.

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