“The lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara
A short story “The Lesson” focuses on education as the major theme. Education comes in many forms of life and it is very important because of the results of the knowledge acquired from the valuable lessons learned in life outside classroom. The story identifies three characters; Sylvia, Mercedes and a black woman, Ms. Moore who is educated and takes children from poor and underprivileged neighborhood to FAO Schwarz. The children do not want to go but they are forced by parents, showing how learning leads to discomfort though with a positive change. Ms. Moore is unique in the neighborhood that she moves and she is very black, thus connecting the white community with black. There are different types of pride as well as leadership functions identifying ways in which people either respect or disrespect one another. There is a notion of economic inequality among whites and blacks in the United States because Sylvia is a leader in charge of her friends’ activities. Ms. Moore wishes to get a lot from children and after trying for some times, she manages to get Sylvia who resents Ms. Moore’s appearance in her entire life because as an adult, Ms. Moore has more inherent authority and high education from college to change Sylvia’s life. Sylvia learned the lesson because she wound up and did not want to go regardless of the impact in her life from the trip. Her tone and use of slang terms as well as curse words showed how she disliked Ms. Moore who kept on mocking her because of her family’s poverty as this showed he the existing economic inequality in the world. Sylvia learns a lesson outside classroom for her rise above her circumstance through creating herself a better life.
Bambara, Toni, Cade. The Lesson. New York: The Continuum Publishing Corporation, 1972.