Essay on The Lesson By Toni Cade Bambara

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Toni Cade Bambara’s “The Lesson” is not about a teacher taking her students on a playful field trip to one of the most expensive toy stores and making them feel out of place, but it holds much deeper meaning and value. “The Lesson” holds up as a social interpretation about an African American girl’s struggle of her newly awareness of the economic inequality that surrounds her. The major theme of the story is to educate the young children exactly what life has to offer and to educate them on how to get an “Equal chance to pursue happiness means an equal crack at the dough” (Bambara, 1099). Money strongly controls how people view themselves and the lack thereof supports the economic inequality in America’s society today. The characters play a very significant role in the lesson of the story on how that money does just that, with the conflict of Miss Moore and Sylvia being the central point.
The character Miss Moore is introduced into the story by descriptions such as, “nappy hair and proper speech and no makeup”, “The only woman on the block with no first name. And she was black as hell, cept for her feet, which were fish-white and spooky” (1094) from the children which already sets the tone that the children do not care for Miss Moore or what she has to teach them. Miss Moore is confident about her looks, which is why she wears an afro, caring, always presentable, and sagacious. “She’d been to college and said it was the only right that she should take responsibility for…

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