The Lesson Questions and Answers
by Toni Cade Bambara

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How does Sylvia change from the beginning of "The Lesson" to the end of the story?

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Sylvia does show signs of change during the lesson that Miss Moore gives the children, but she is so tough that she refuses to admit it, even to herself. At the end of the story, she even shows anger toward her friend Sugar for prolonging the lesson by asking Miss Moore questions. However, as Sugar and Sylvia race home, Sylvia states that she is going home to think over the day. As she says, "ain't nobody gonna beat me at nothing."

This shows a deeper understanding of her identity as an African American and a person living in impoverished conditions than she showed at the beginning of the story. In the beginning, she mocked people like Miss Moore for being proud and, as far as she was concerned, above their station. In the first paragraph, for example, "she says that we laughed at her...the way we did at the junk man who went about his business like he was some big-time president."

The catalyst for her change is when she sees the sailboat in the toy store window for over a...

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she don;t

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