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Lesson Essay

1086 words - 5 pages

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. Although, difficult, at first for Sylvia to comprehend, Miss Moore guides her in the right direction. In “The Lesson” the lesson Miss Moore wanted Sylvia, and the other children to understand were the importance of education, and the social and economic injustice that surrounded 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 in the neighborhood are poverty stricken and have a ghetto vernacular. Especially, Sylvia, who mouth is atrocious, and not to forget can’t stand Miss Moore. For example, “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. To illustrate, “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 too stubborn to realize the importance of the conversation and shrugs everything off. However, she will eventually understand the true lesson at hand.

Furthermore, Miss Moore hails two cabs and gives each of the children five dollars for transportation. Shortly after, getting in the cab; Miss Moore and the children arrive to Fifth Avenue at the F.A.O. Schwarz, toy store. The atmosphere had instantly changed and Sylvia and children noticed. For instance, “Then we check out that we on Fifth Avenue and everybody dressed in stockings. One lady in a fur coat, hot as it is, White folks crazy.” Before, actually going in Miss Moore suggests that they look through the toy store window first. One particular object that brought about a fuss was a microscope priced $300. Miss Moore asked two of the children how long they thought it would take to save up both their allowance to get the microscope. And they replied it would take too long, Sugar adds that they would’ve outgrown it before they could buy it. Miss Moore on the other hand, ensures the children you can never outgrow a learning instrument. While, the children were interested in learning; Sylvia still was stubborn and negligent about the purpose of the trip. As stated, “Why, even...

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