Literary Analysis "The Lesson"

Topics: Education, American novelists, Toni Cade Bambara / Pages: 4 (763 words) / Published: Apr 2nd, 2012
Celia Kane


Eng 120

Section B01 Spring 2012

Literary Analysis Essay 2

“The Lesson”: Significance of Miss Moore Taking the Children to New Environments

The predominant theme in “The Lesson” composed by Toni Cade Bambara is creating an understanding to adolescents of all the opportunities life has to offer; a lesson on social class and having a choice which society you choose to live in. Miss. Moore who takes on the responsibility to educate the young ones has intentions of more than just taking the children to the store for amusement. Miss Moore 's informal lessons are aimed at educating the neighborhood children

about how their lives differ from those of rich white children, nonetheless Miss Moore wants the children to see they can live the life of the rich and high society.

An essential element that adds to the depth and enhances a reader’s comprehension of “The Lesson” is the author’s use of symbolism throughout the story. Sylvia, the narrator of the story, is a born leader. She is used to being in charge of what the rest of her friends think and do. Sylvia resents the appearance of Miss Moore in her life. Miss Moore is a new kind of black woman. She has no first name but is always addressed with her title. She has "nappy hair and proper speech and no makeup”(Bambara 98). The neighbors are not quite sure how to respond to her, which is illustrated by the way Sylvia describes her as someone to laugh at, "the way we did at the junk man,” (Bambara 98) who is considered arrogant and acting above his place. Sylvia also describes Miss Moore in terms of being an unpleasant obstacle, like the winos "who cluttered up our parks and pissed on our handball walls"(Bambara 98). Clearly the author shows the extent of which Sylvia dislikes Miss Moore. Although the people in the neighborhood are unsure of Miss Moore the parents of the children allow her to take them on an outing. Miss Moore, the children’s self appointed mentor, takes

Cited: Introduction to Literature, Wayne County Community College Edition, by Ed. Kathleen Shine Cain, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Janice Neuleib, Stanley Orr, Paige Reynolds, and Stephen Ruffus: The publication of Toni Cade Bambara. “The Lesson” 2011. 98-104. Print.

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