The Meaning Behind the Sailboat

In the short story, “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara, Miss Moore takes a group of children into the city to go window shopping. While none of the kids understand what the point of it was, Miss Moore had her intentions. They stumble upon a toy store and see a sailboat in the window, “Hand-crafted sailboat of fiberglass at one thousand one hundred twenty-five dollars,” (112). These kids come from poor families and the idea of a toy costing that much in unimaginable to them. Sylvia, the narrator, says, “I read it again for myself just in case the group recitation put me in a trance. Same thing. For some reason this pisses me off.” (112). Miss Moore’s secret lesson is that some people have a worry free life, where others don’t. How the money spent on a thousand dollar toy sail boat could help a struggling family of six or seven. Sugar, one of the kids, starts to understand it. “that this is not much of a democracy if you ask me. Equal chance to pursue happiness means an equal crack as the dough, don’t it?” (115). Unfortunately, some people have to worry about how they will afford dinner and rent, where others don’t even have to think twice if there will be food when they get home. Life is unfair sometimes is what I believe Miss Moore was teaching.

New kind of prison

Escape from Spiderhead had many new and interesting concepts, but the one that stood out to me was this idea of the new kind of jail that Jeff was in. Jeff, as well as Heather and Rachel, were all criminals and instead of being in a regular prison, they were placed in here. All three of them were convicted of murder as well as other crimes. In this new kind of prison, scientists use these criminals as test subjects to test new drugs and study human emotions. What I found most interesting about this was how they ended up there. On page 68, Jeff says, “The trial almost killed her. She’d spent her savings to get me out of real jail and in here.” His trial was very hard on his mom, she went through many changes and challenges. What was more intriguing was that she paid for her son to go to this new prison instead of “real jail.” Was this better than real jail? Was being a test subject better than spending time in jail? As to why this new place was better than real jail was left unsaid, but I think that was the point. Let us imagine what it was like and why it was better.