Compare and contrast "The Lesson" with "Girl."

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karenwalcott eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Lesson" is a story by Toni Cade Bambara. In it, the main protagonist, a young girl, and her friends are taken to FAO Schwartz by a neighborhood lady.  The lady wants them to see how expensive the toys are.  She leads them around the toy store and the kids, especially the main character, become increasingly uncomfortable. They all realize that in the world there are some people who can spend a large amount on a toy boat, while others would need that same amount to support their families for a year. In "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid, the speaker gives direct instruction to her young daughter about how to be a proper young woman.  She warns her about always ironing her blouse and against singing Calypso music in church. What these pieces have in common is that they are both about elder African American women trying to teach younger African American girls life lessons. They differ because in "The Lesson," the main character is being allowed to discover the truth on her own, while in "Girl," the main character is telling her daughter how she should behave.