the right and wrong ways of dealing with this. “The Lesson,” by Toni Cade Bambara, does not necessarily have to do with the racial oppression King describes, as Bambara tells a short story expressing how a group of children living in poverty view the richer lifestyle, but some of King‟s categories of dealing with oppression can be seen in how Bambara‟s characters react to what they are observing.
At the start of Bambara‟s “The Lesson,” Sylvia expresses her dislike and almost hatred for Miss Moore. This is made obvious by many of the statements she makes when introducing the characters and story: “I‟m really hating this nappy-head bitch and her goddamn college degree,” and “though I never talk to her . . . I wouldn‟t give the bitch that
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When the group of children enters the store and see the high prices, they have more mixed thoughts and unbelief of the costs of different objects than reacting using the categories Martin Luther Jr. described in “The Ways of Meeting Oppression.” However, these thoughts can be placed in one of the categories based on how the person might be inclined to react in the future. One example of the violence category being noticeable, yet not acted upon, is when Sugar runs her finger along the toy boat and Sylvia begins to feel jealous. The story reads, “I want to hit her. Maybe not her, but I sure want to punch somebody in the mouth.” She also shows some non-acted-upon violence when she begins to get angry and demands, “Whatcha bring us here for Miss Moore?” But then she changes to nonviolent resistance when she realizes she does not want to give Miss Moore the satisfaction of knowing she made her mad; Sylva begins to looked bored and then just says, “Let‟s go,” and they all walk out of the store. I am classifying this as nonviolent resistance because she is finding a way to resist against both Miss Moore and the injustice she sees of the high priced products, though others may see it as getting angry and walking away from the situation. There really are no signs of acquiescence while the group is in the store.