What are the lessons found in author Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson"?
Toni Cade Bambara’s story “The Lesson“ employs a first person narration with Sylvia, as the narrator and protagonist. Sylvia is a 12 year old black girl, cynical, intelligent, and the obvious leader of the group of children. The story takes place in the 1970s with the main character growing up in Harlem. The lesson of the story is the value of education and the ability to change the course of a person’s life.
Miss Moore, the only educated person in the neighborhood and an admirable lady, has taken on the responsibility of exposing the local children to the world outside their community. The children are unappreciative, poor, and black. On this day, the lesson is to take the oppressed children to FAO Schwartz in Manhattan. She lets the children experience their first ride in a taxicab. The sarcastic Sylvia gives her opinion:
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. And then she gets to the part about we all poor and live in the slums which I don't feature. And I'm ready to speak on that, but she steps out in the street and hails two cabs just like that.
The toy store displays toys that cost more than the entire incomes of the families of the children. Lost on the children, the lesson intended by Miss Moore is to show another aspect of life and to inspire them to want more in their future. Initially, the lesson aggravates the contemptuous children, but finally the point of the trip begins to hit home to some of the children, particularly...
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