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Social Classes As Presented In "The Lesson"

1589 words - 7 pages

In Toni Cade Bambara’s short story “The Lesson” there is no hiding what she intended to portray to the audience, the fact that there is a huge gap between the lower class citizens and the higher class citizens. This becomes apparent during one of Miss Moore’s infamous outings with the kids when she takes them to FAO Schwartz in Manhattan to teach them about money. Through this outing with Miss Moore the children realize that their way of life is far different than of those in Manhattan and that they belong to a different class of people altogether.
Miss Moore, a prominent figure in Bambara’s story, was a lady who had just recently moved into the neighborhood “with nappy hair and proper ...view middle of the document...

The children realized immediately that this is not somewhere that their class of people would shop. Even the youngest in the group, Q.T., states “must be rich people shop here” (99). This just shows that the children were not lacking in knowledge of where they stood. They made the connection that while some children got thousand dollar toy sailboats; they were getting their toy sailboats for two dollars from the store down the street. They realized that there was a vast difference in the way they lived. Miss Moore made it very clear to them through her words and taking them to see the store that they were “poor and live in the slums” however the children had no problem whatsoever figuring that out for themselves (97).
Though Bambara’s story “The Lesson” seems to be set in the 1960’s- 1970’s the issues present that accompany the social classes still exist today. If anything the social class issue is probably even more prominent today. Today the class system affects every single aspect of our lives. Social classes affect education, jobs, relationships, and many other aspects of human life. Social classes also affect groups of friends as portrayed in the story. Each child in the story had a little different standing within the class system and it was very obvious that some had more than others. So from this we see that there is hardly a situation in which the social class a person pertains to would not come into play. As Miss Moore shows the children, social class can affect even the smallest things such as toy stores and such. The class system can really push a persons life to go in two very different directions depending on what class they belong to.
While it was good the Miss Moore exposed the children to this new way of life, it definitely opened the new door to whether or not their way of life would satisfy them. It had to have been difficult for them to return to their homes in the projects that afternoon and realize that what they had seen that morning was something unattainable to them at that point. Being exposed to that forever changed the way they would look at their way of life.
What the child in “The Lesson” experience is very much like that of what Big Mike experiences in the “The Blindside,” a movie released in 2009 based on the true story of Michael Oher. In “The Blindside” the main character is a teenager named Michael Oher who grew up in a very unstable environment going back and forth between living in the projects and being homeless. In his late teenage years he was taken in, and eventually adopted, by the upperclass Nashville Touhy family and enrolled him in Briarcrest Christian School to give him a better education. Through the kind acts of the Touhy family, many doors were opened for Michal that never would have been opened in his prior predicament. He eventually went on to play football for Ole Miss, the alma mater of both Leanne and Sean Touhy, and then to play for the Baltimore Ravens. Because of the random act...

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