The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara Essay
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The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara
The major theme of the story was creating awareness in adolescents about what life has to offer. The nature of human beings of accepting the realities of life to such an extent that apathy and lethargy sets in, is what proves to be destructive for the social fabric of today’s world. In this stagnation, Mrs. Moore provides the impetus required for people to realize their god given right to something better. We are told that Mrs. Moore has a college degree, is well dressed most of the times, and has a good command on her language. She seems to be a kind of a person who has seen the world. She has experienced life, and wants to use that experience in providing the children with an opportunity to broaden…show more content…
At times, she asks them to question the way of things, and realize that they are not receiving enough of the prosperity that they deserve to have.
We see that as society struggles against new ideas, so did the children. They did not readily take to Mr. Moore’s indoctrination. In the text the author says that
“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.”
We realize that Mrs. Moore is trying to open their eyes to the world around them, when she takes them on a trip around the expensive shopping complexes of the city. As Mrs. Moore takes them through these areas, we get the distinct impression that Sylvia gets angry. She discovers a fiber glass boat that is worth a thousand dollars. Sugar touches the boat, at which she gets jealous. She does not realize at first the reason for her anger, and almost directs it at her cousin, Sugar. Yet she stops herself and realizes that she is not angry with Sugar, rather that something else is wrong.
We see the first signs of comprehension in the group. Things change as the laid back nature of the girls is shattered when Sugar comes up with an important observation. She says that “ I don’t think all of us here put together eat in a year what that sailboat costs.” Sugar realizes
Robert Shacklock Dr. Claudine Perreault42.212 – The Short StoryFebruary 16, 2011Essay #1 – Analysis of The LessonThe Lesson was first published in 1972 in the book “Gorilla, My Love”. “Gorilla,My Love” was a collection of fifteen short stories written between 1950 and 1970 byToni Cade Bambara. “The Lesson” is like other stories in “Gorilla, My Love” that all toldthrough a first-person point of view by a narrator who is often a tough, brave, and caringyoung girl.Toni Cade Bambara was born March 25, 1939 and grew up in Harlem, BedfordStuyvesant, and Queens New York. She graduated from Queens College in 1959 with aBachelors Degree in Theatre Arts/English Literature and completed her Masters Degreein American Studies at City College in New York. She eventually went on to teach atLivingston College in 1969 as an assistant professor of English. During her life, Bambarawas at the forefront of radical politics, African American Culture, and the feministmovement. Her writing exposes the injustices and inequalities imposed on AfricanAmericans, that mainstream America avoided.“The Lesson” is told in a first-person narrative be a character named Sylvia, aschool aged girl that lives in Harlem, New York during what the reader can assume is thelate 1960’s to early 1970’s based on the prices of certain items in the toy shop that isvisited in the story. Through Sylvia’s observations and language readers learn a great dealabout the environment Sylvia has grown up in as well as how she views the world.1