The Lesson, by Toni Cade Bambara, is a brief narrative story that captures a turnkey moment in a young girl s life. Sylvia vividly recalls the day she learned a life lesson that was initiated by Miss Moore. The central idea of this story is that actual life experiences are the lessons that make the most impact. Sylvia recollects the day with the mentally of that she would rather go to the pool or to the show where it s cool, than on Miss Moore s educational field trip to the city.
Once in the city Sylvia notices the financial affluence of the people there and how much that defers from her own. Sylvia suffers sticker shock in the expensive toy store and that is where Sylvia gets mad and the wheels in her head start to turn. On the way back home Sylvia thinks about how her mother would react if Sylvia were to ask for the clown she saw at the store. At the end of the day Sylvia s attention is not of going to get a half a chocolate layer with her cousin Sugar, but instead Sylvia wants to be alone to think this day through.
It is at this point Sylvia determines that ain t nobody gonna beat me at nuthin. The central character of this story is Sylvia who is also dynamic. Sylvia who never thought much beyond her own ghetto neighborhood has to rethink her situation after going into the city. This is a bitter pill for Sylvia to swallow yet she initiates a mental change at the end of the story. Miss Moore s character is static in that she is an unchanging mentor of the children and wants to educate them.
The other kids in the story are minor characters that are stereotyped by their names like, Rosie Giraffe and Fat Butt, and remain static throughout the entire situation. The additional minor characters of the children s parents and relatives also remain static. One conflict in this story is an external one Miss Moore has with the kids. Miss Moore tries to make an educational impact on the children.
With her lectures and analogies like; where we are is who we are, but it don t necessarily have to be that way, Miss Moore attempts to better educate the neighborhood kids, yet they seem to continue their lives unaffected. The main conflict in this story, brought on by Miss Moore s educational field trip to the city, is Sylvia s own internal struggle. Once in the city Sylvia feels a shame on the inside and she begins to question herself on this feeling. Sylvia, at the end of the day, takes time to think about what she had experienced in the city, and makes strong mental adjustment.
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