Economic Inequality and African American Kids

Topics: Economic inequality, Social class, Toni Cade Bambara Pages: 2 (637 words) Published: February 27, 2014
Character Analysis of "The Lesson"
Throughout the short story "The Lesson," Toni Cade Bambara uses a first person writing style, as well as specific characters to emphasize her ideas, and further prove her point. Bambara illustrates what it is like for African American kids growing up, and the overall issue of class, and inequality that African Americans are still facing today. The author successfully states her claim, and by writing in first person, through the character Sylvia, the reader can make a more in depth analysis of the thoughts, behaviors, and interactions of inner city African American kids.

Sylvia, the narrator in this story, reveals the true nature of a kid growing up. Sylvia is often found going off topic, making grammar and spelling errors, and complaining with inappropriate language. Within the first paragraph the reader finds Sylvia complaining and swearing about her new neighbor, Miss Moore. Sylvia even goes of topic enough to compare Miss Moore to a garbage man. When describing the setting in the second paragraph, Sylvia states that it is "puredee hot." It is obvious that she made a grammatical error, in which she meant "pretty hot." Though it may seem strange for grammar errors, and irrelevant stories being told, it further emphasizes that Sylvia is an ordinary inner city kid, with a lack of discipline, and education.

Miss Moore decides to have a teaching moment with the kids about the social inequality and uneven distribution of wealth. She proclaims to the kids that the live in poverty, and that they are in the slums of society. Sylvia in her own thoughts does not agree with Miss Moore's statement. So Miss Moore decides to take Sylvia and several of her friends to a toy store further out of town. When the children enter the store, they quickly find out that everything is out of their price range, so they move onto another store. This is when more is revealed about Sylvia. When she reaches the entrance of the next toy store, she...
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