The Lesson Essay

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“The Lesson” Toni Cade Bambara uses literary devices such as symbolism, point of view, and diction to reveal the theme of Inequality in “The Lesson”. Symbolism is used in “The Lesson” to reveal the theme of inequality. The children looked at a myriad of exclusive toys outside the store. Some of these toys included a paperweight, a clown, and a sailboat. First off the children had no idea what a paperweight was. Sylvia said to herself "my eyes tell me it's a chunk of glass cracked with something heavy, and different color inks dripped into the splits, then the whole thing put into an oven or something. But for $480 it don't make sense." A paperweight is used to hold down various documents and other things of value. None of the children have ever had anything of value, so we can conclude that they most likely live in the slums. The paperweight symbolizes that their home may be holding them down. The children are the valuables under the paperweight that can’t get out because of the inequality in society, racism and lack of money is keeping the children where they are, without the probability of ever leaving. When the children go into the store they find a clown for thirty five dollars. To them, thirty five dollars is a lot. Thirty five dollars could buy new bunk beds, pay the rent, the piano bill, and fund a trip to the country to visit their grandfather. This shows how much that the children and their families just don’t have. Also the children see a “handcrafted sailboat of fiberglass at one thousand one hundred ninety five dollars.” Sylvia says, “That much money could last forever.” Which is true for them. To these children the cost of the toy is a life's worth of work. Secondly, point of view is used in “The Lesson” to reveal the theme of inequality. Sylvia is a sensitive and tough little girl who is quite aware of the inequality in society which contributes to her, and her friends, disadvantageous economic situation. Sylvia relates poverty to shame when she

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