The Key to Success According to Toni Cade Bambaras Short Story The Lesson

What s the Lesson?

If you want to get anything in life you must work hard. In Toni Cade Bambara s short story The Lesson, the single unifying fact is exploring life outside of your own realm of knowledge is the key to success. This is proved to be true when Miss Moore took the children to see a way of life they have never to known to exist. Miss Moore taught the group of children the basic principles and values of life each day, as well as the other characteristics of an education.

Today, there was Slyvia, Flyboy, Fat Butt, Junebug, Q.T., Sugar, Jr., Rosie Giraffe, and Mercedes. Miss Moore asked the children if they knew what money was. She explained how to earn money, as well as how they should always save it. When Miss Moore gave Slyvia a five dollar bill to pay for the cab ride, the children were faced with one of their first real-life examples of money interaction.

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Slyvia was bothered with a strong intention to ditch the cab at a stop, and then go blow the money on junk food. When the children reach their destination, they taste the first display of how exploring life outside your own realm of knowledge is the key to success. The children are in down town New York when they get outside of the cabs.

The children are surrounded by people wearing suits, fur coats, and stockings. The children were not used to seeing so many people all dressed up, especially for everyday life.

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Miss Moore then walks the children to a store and stops in front of the windows. The first thing the children see is a microscope. A microscope scope closely analyzes things for a view that is invisible to the naked eye. The microscope symbolized how the children were looking into their own lives, then comparing it to the lives of those around them. The next thing the children see is a crystal paper weight that has semi-precious stones in it. When the children discovered the use of a paperweight, they were amazed that something with such a little purpose could cost so much. The paperweight cost four hundred and eighty dollars. The children can t understand why anyone would spend $480 on something to keep their papers from scattering around. Miss Moore tries to justify a paperweight by saying how it helps keep your desk clean and tidy. The next thing that catches the children s attention is a big toy sailboat. The most amazing part about this sailboat is that it cost $1195. The children were stunned by how much this toy they were looking at cost. Together, all the children recited the price tag in amazement. Hand-crafted sailboat of fiberglass at one thousand one hundred ninety-five dollars (Making Literature Matter, Bambara, 593). All of the children stood in front of the window covering the glass with finger smudges. Slyvia became mad as she stood there trying to figure out why some one would pay that much money for a toy. Unbelievable (Making Literature Matter, Bambara, 593), she said.

Once the children are threw staring at the sailboat, Miss Moore tells the kids to go in the store. Slyvia and Sugar get to the door first, but when Slyvia gets to the door she stops. She didn t want to go in. She was afraid to go in. Why would she be afraid of going into a toy store? Slyvia talks about how she was never afraid of anything before, and can t figure out why she is having trouble now She was ashamed of herself, and felt out of place in this expensive toy store. Slyvia then decides that she is being dumb, and enters the store. Slyvia explains how all the stares the children and herself are getting remind her of the time when she and Sugar crashed into a Catholic church on a dare. The children all walk around looking, but not touching as if they were in a museum. Slyvia becomes more and more angry about being in the store. Watcha bring us here for, Miss Moore (Making Literature Matter, Bambara, 594)? Miss Moore could now tell that something was bothering Slyvia. You sound angry, Slyvia. Are you mad about something (Making Literature Matter, Bambara, 594)? After this, Slyvia walks around the store trying to figure out what kind of people shop there. She wonders what they do for a living, and why her folks aren t doing the same. This is an important part of the story. This is where the theme comes about. Slyvia is now trying to understand a way of life that she has no idea about When the children get back from the toy store, they are all back at the mailbox again. Miss Moore is wrapping up her lesson for the day.

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The Key to Success According to Toni Cade Bambaras Short Story The Lesson. (2022, Feb 26). Retrieved from

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