The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara

8 August 2016

Bambara’s “The Lesson” takes place during the 1960s and focuses on elements of economic inequality and education. A voluntary, unpaid instructor, Miss Moore, aims to teach an invaluable lesson to several impoverish students living under the bottom class of economy. In an effort to encourage their academic development, Miss Moore exposes her students to reasons for education while shining light on her statement, “Where are we are is who we are, but it don’t necessarily have to be that way.

” Unable to identify themselves with Miss Moore and her passion for their involvement in educational activities, the students were opposed to the idea of investing time in her teachings. The hour leading into Miss Moore’s final lesson, Sylvia, a student with the utmost aversive attitude, expressed, “I’m really hating this nappy-head… and her goddamn college degree. I’d much rather go to the pool or to the show where it’s cool.

The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara Essay Example

” As Sylvia follows such thoughts, her fellow students seem to share similar feelings of disinterest. Their lack of attention towards Miss Moore’s directions and floundering interactions with one another could reflect a lack of regulation and order in their regular lives. The group of indifferent, restless students had lived obliviously to the lives which were lived outside of a poverty-stricken environment. “And then she gets to the part about we all poor and live in the slums, which I don’t feature. ” On the way to F. A. O.

Schwarz, the students were entertained by their first encounter of riding a taxi cab, and upon exiting the cab they were especially astounded by the difference in atmosphere and women dressed in fur coats and stockings despite the warmth of temperature that day. Standing outside of F. A. O. Schwarz, they were overwhelmed by the surprisingly classy set of toys on display as well as their high values in price. Along with the other students, Sylvia was unable to fight back the absurdity felt in paying such money for an overall trivial item.

“’Unbelievable,’ I hear myself say and am really stunned. I read it again for myself just in case… Same thing. For some reason this pisses me off. ” More so, she questioned the lives of people as well as their work, who were capable of buying such items. “I’m thinkin about this tricky toy I saw in the store… Thirty-five dollars and the whole household could visit Grandaddy Nelson in the country. Thirty-five dollars would pay for the rent and the piano bill too. ” Sylvia experiences feelings of uncertainty and hesitation towards Miss Moore’s suggestion to step inside the toy store.

“We all walkin on tiptoe and hardly touchin the games and puzzles… And I watched Miss Moore who is steady watchin us like she waiting for a sign. ” Her once bold and unwavering outlook on common life was tested by Miss Moore. Sylvia was able to realize that much more was achievable in her lifetime than the lifestyle of which she was accustomed to would offer. Miss Moore embedded an unforgettable moral in education. The statement, “where we are is who we are”, eventually rang truth to her students, however, it had resonated a greater urgency within them to change the accuracy of its proclamation.

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