Innocence and Experience

Topics: Academic degree, African American, Thomas Gray Pages: 3 (945 words) Published: March 2, 2014

“Where ignorance is bliss, /’Tis folly to be wise” comes from one of Thomas Gray’s works. What Gray means by this is that sometimes it is better to not know some things about life, and this time is when you are still young. You are not ridiculed for being innocent because everyone knows that you do not have as much experience as adults do. Thomas Gray misses this aspect of being a kid, but also knows that it is important to learn new things and to understand that the world is not perfect. In Toni Cade Bambara’s short story “The Lesson,” a group of poor African American girls are unaware of how other people live until they meet an African American woman named Miss Moore and she teaches them an important lesson. The girls find Miss Moore to be incredibly strange and different due to the fact that she is an African American, yet she has a “goddamn college degree” (96) and “always looked like she was going to church” (96). Miss Moore is not like most African American women during their time in their neighborhood. She always looks presentable, speaks good English, and is well educated. She was the only person in their neighborhood to have an education, and for an African American woman to go to college in their time period was new. Because they live in poverty and they do not have parents who have college degrees, or even went to college, this makes Miss Moore the perfect person to look up to and aspire to be. In order to teach the group of girls a lesson, she takes them to the city, which is filled with several white people dressed in expensive clothing and even “one lady in a fur coat, hot as it is” (97). It is obvious that this is probably one of the first times that these girls have seen white people. Their first impression to them is that they are crazy. Before going into the store Sugar, Sylvia’s cousin, asks if they could steal, and she was being serious. Once inside of the toy store, all of the girls are in shock at how expensive everything is. Sylvia, the...
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