The Lesson

             Anger is such a common word in everyday language and society. It is an emotion, a violent passion that is usually caused by real or supposed injury. Anger can result from something as major as bodily harm or as trivial as not being able to afford a toy. In Toni Cade Bambara=s short story AThe Lesson,@ the audience is shown how anger can be expressed at an early age. One would think that children in their carefree lives would not allow the injustices of society to cause them anger. Bambara=s use of child to portray her feelings about the value systems at work in the dominant culture and in her own life, helps her to grasp her audience=s attention and forces them to continue reading to find out the end consequences. Sylvia, the main character in the story, inspires Bambara=s audience to take a look at the economic class structure in the American society.
             In AThe Lesson,@ Bambara reveals her anger about the economic value systems in America through Sylvia. Sylvia is a ten-year old African American girl who is on an outing with the neighborhood children. Miss Moore, a lady who feels that it is her duty to teach the kids certain lessons that will aid them later in life, is the leader of this journey. Miss Moore feels that it is her responsibility to teach the children about the world around them because she has had a college education. Not many people in Sylvia=s neighborhood has been to college or plans on going. Miss Moore refuses to let her education go to waste and therefore takes it upon herself to teach the children about the value systems in America. Miss Moore decides to take the children to a toy store on Fifth Avenue, where their lesson of the day begins. It is here that Sylvia becomes infuriated with the systems in America. She notices all of the expensive toys in the store window and inside the store, and wonders who would pay so much money for toys. Obviously, rich people are the only ones who can afford such expensive items...

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The Lesson. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:51, December 05, 2016, from