Why does Sylvia keep $4 of the five-dollar bill given her by Miss Moore in Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson?"

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In Toni Cade Bambara's short story, "The Lesson," Sylvia is all about being ahead in "the game." She has no idea that the "game" is about to change.

Miss Moore gets the kids for a couple of hours with the intent of teaching them about the world around them: how it controls people of their race (a "toy" store where none of these children could ever hope to shop) and education that is not presented for children of color, etc. (We can infer this last piece because had there been this kind of program available for the children, Miss Moore would not need to do it on her own time, with her own money.)

Miss Moore's intent is not to create in the children a resentful attitude because they cannot have the things they see in this almost obscene store for "children" (but not these children), but she wants them to know what the world offers if they work hard. She wants them to be aware and to care. With these two "weapons," they will be better prepared to fight to rise above their poverty while opening...

(The entire section contains 657 words.)

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