The Lesson

Essay by dipeshpUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2004

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The Lesson

"The Lesson" by Toni Cade Bambara is a very well written piece of history. In this story, we look at the lessons of life. We can choose to learn from them or we can choose to ignore them and go on in our ignorance, not growing, and not developing as persons. I believe these are the themes of Toni Bambara's 'The Lesson.' The story analyzes the reactions of a group of poor children to a visit to an expensive toy store guided by Ms. Moore. Ms. Moore tries to teach the children that there is difference between the wealth of rich and poor society.

Bambara's tale tells about a little girl who does not really know how to take it when a good teacher finally does come along. The narrator of the story, Sylvia's (who is also one of the street kids) life is within the poverty-stricken area and she does not see why she must try hard.

The teacher, Ms. Moore shows the kids what is all about by taking them to a rich toy store, one in which a single toy costs more than year's supply of food. In the beginning of the story, we are acquainted with Sylvia's reaction towards Ms. Moore. She states, "Back in the days when everyone was old and stupid or young and foolish and me and Sugar were the only ones just right, this lady moved on our block with nappy hair and proper speech and no makeup. And quite naturally we laughed at her, laughed the way we did at the junk man who went about his business like he was some big-time president and his sorry-ass horse his secretary." This shows that they are not use to seeing an educated black person like Ms.