"The Lesson" Literary Analysis

Pages: 4 (941 words) / Published: Jul 25th, 2013
Tammy Gerrity Eng. 120 B-02 July, 9, 2013 “The Lesson” Literary Analysis Toni Bambara’s “The Lesson” opens with a group of children waiting around a mailbox for a woman named Miss Moore. The narrator, Sylvia, mentions that, “She’d [Miss Moore] been to college and said it was only right that she should take responsibility for the young ones’ education.” (Bambara 98). This is much to the children’s chagrin, as they would prefer to spend their summer doing anything but learning. The setting of the story is the slums of New York during the summer. Once Miss Moore arrives she informs the children that they will be going on a field trip of sorts and hails a couple cabs. She splits the group and gives Sylvia five dollars and puts her in charge of paying for the fare in the other cab. For the majority of the time in the cab while the other children are goofing off Sylvia is thinking of ways to spend the money and wants to jump out at the next stop to spend it. Once they have arrived at their destination they become aware that they are on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Miss Moore leads them to the toy store, FAO Schwartz, where they are window shopping. The children are clamoring over the items in the window; a large and colorful paper weight and an extravagant sailboat. One of the children, Flyboy, points out the price tag and they are all shocked by the cost of the sailboat. Sylvia is the most left feeling a sense of shock and awe. She is truly stunned and has to read the price tag again to believe that what she is seeing is true. Once they enter the store Sylvia has more moments of bewilderment over the prices and why people would pay that kind of money for a toy when they could get something similar for much less elsewhere. Sylvia is an outspoken young African American girl who is strong willed and appears to be the leader of the group. We, the reader, first witness a shift in Sylvia’s point of view when she feels shame as they

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