Lessened Lesson

The short story, “The Lesson” written by Toni Cade Bambara, compares the mindset of the lucky and the not so fortunate lifestyles but doesn’t reach any sure conclusion. Throughout the story we witness much commotion and seemingly there is to be some cause and effect, but I beg to differ. There is no singular point between any two characters that we will notice to have an everlasting impact. Sylvia and Miss Moore both seem to bump heads through most of the passage. Sylvia constantly wants to be better than her so she won’t have to listen to what Miss Moore has to say. However, we don’t really note any relationships being made, or any ground being covered among the kids. They both try and get the better of each other over aggression and force, but none change. For instance, in the last line of the piece, “But ain’t nobody gonna beat me at nuthin.” This sentence can be interpreted in many ways, but I take it as something good used for nothing good. Sylvia never wants to be beat, she always wants to be the best, but what stands in her way is her perspective of what’s important in life. She has great ambition and wants to be at the top, but because of her background, she won’t ever use her motivation for the betterment of herself. Yet, she will use her drive to do things like fighting her friends or getting away with stealing and that’s what I think will keep her at the social level she resides in currently.

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