[Writer Name] Toni Cade Bambara’s “The Lesson” Introduction This paper attempts to critically analyze one of the famous stories by Toni Cade Bambara, published in her initial collection by the title “The Lesson”…
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Most of her short stories entail or revolve around an intelligent, young narrator who attempts to inquire about the world surrounding her life. As the process of investigation goes on with the central character, the reader also discovers. "The Lesson" basically analyzes the actualization of economic inequity in United States in 1960s via the eyes of the central character, a young girl. In this story this role has been named as ‘Sylvia’ who is portrayed as a sensitive, proud, and tough girl, possessing the smartness to neglect the realisms surrounding her. The author also provides a host of various characters who offer help to Sylvia in her exploration and in the demonstration of issues of minorities and poor people within the U.S. Being a symbol of societal development, Bambara, during her career made use of her fiction compilation as a way of teaching people the ways to demand and improve their lifestyles. At the time of its publication, the story collection was referred as a real voice. Concurrently the author aptly described the African-American community, she also instructed about its future. Such stories depict the intention of author to contribute a lesson absent forfeiting her artistic form to didactic morals or thoughts (Butler?Evans 100). About Bambara In order to comprehend the story behind “The Lesson,” the place and time at which the Toni Cade Bambara attended college and then started creating her short stories is needed to be investigated. Bambara is a well known essayist, novelist, lecturer, filmmaker and educator. She always insisted that commitment to society cannot be separated from the creation of art. Bambara's initial years work as a welfare worker and dedication as a community organizer inclined her contributions from the very beginnings. In 1960s, Bambara along with Harlem were at the forefronts of the feminist movement, radical politics as well as African American culture (Harlem, 2008). That’s why her writing discloses the inequalities and injustices forced on African Americans that conventional America averted and could not pass through. The story is a window as well as a lesson for the audience into reality of Bambara to a similar extent as it is a window and a lesson for Sylvia, the main character. Summary It is first person narration by a poor, young black girl who was brought up in Harlem in an undetermined time depicted in the story as “Back in the days when everyone was old and stupid or young and foolish and me and Sugar were the only ones just right” (Bambara, 116). One afternoon, Sylvia is made obliged to recognize the cruelty and unfairness of the economic and social system, prevailing in 1960s within the United States. Sylvia is shown to be a resident of "slum area" as her family moved from the South most probably to improve their financial conditions, as was done by numerous southern African Americans during the 20th century but they discover themselves existing in the ghetto. Only a single person within the neighborhood differentiates herself and that is Miss Moore, a representation of shifting times. Contrasting the other African Americans, she is an educated lady and talks in Standard English. She disliked visiting church. These differences are more evident from her physical appearance alone. Most essential for the children of her neighborhood, she assumes the responsibility of the education of the young ones and provides them exposure to the world beyond their neighborhood and its reality. The story basically involves the
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