The Lesson Learned in The Lesson

The “Lesson”, by Toni Cade Bambara, is a short story about a young black girl named Sylvia, who goes on a field trip with her class. Ms. Moore, the teacher of the class, takes the students to a toy store. The customers in the store are mostly white and the students are all shocked by how expensive the toys are. One toy that the students were looking at was a “hand crafted sailboat of fiberglass at one thousand on hundred ninety-five dollars.” The students were so surprised by this high price because their families would never be able to afford something of this price. They thought about how the same amount of money could buy some families food for a whole year, whereas wealthy white families are able to spend such a significant amount of money on a single toy. This was very profound because it emphasized the economic gap between white people and minority groups and the unfairness in society.

2 thoughts on “The Lesson Learned in The Lesson

  1. Marina T

    I found it especially interesting that Miss Moore attempted to make every question the kids had into a lessons. After inquiring about the price of the microscope, she tried to explain atoms, matter, cells, etc. to the kids. Although this is a pretty complicated topic to nonchalantly introduce, I find it admirable at how she tries to pack in as much information into one excursion as possible.



    I thought it was so interesting how the author highlighted the effect of money in the kids lives, and how they stole not just because they wanted to, but because they wanted to be able to buy small things for themselves, such as candy. For example, when the kids split the money they stole from the cab ride to go buy snacks.


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