Essay on Knowledge and Poverty in The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara

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Toni Cade Bambara addresses how knowledge is the means by which one can escape out of poverty in her story The Lesson. In her story she identifies with race, economic inequality, and literary epiphany during the early 1970’s. In this story children of African American progeny come face to face with their own poverty and reality. This realism of society’s social standard was made known to them on a sunny afternoon field trip to a toy store on Fifth Avenue. Through the use of an African American protagonist Miss Moore and antagonist Sylvia who later becomes the sub protagonist and White society the antagonist “the lesson” was ironically taught. Bambara identifies with race through class and demographics in her story The Lesson. The …show more content…

We all walkin on tiptoe and hardly touchin the games and puzzles and things” (646). The toy store in the White neighborhood was not like the one she and the other children were use to in her Harlem community where thing were cheap and quickly replaced. To her this Toy store was something too pure to be touched and most precious because it belonged to those of wealth and it was not for her people of poor quality to demolish. Throughout The Lesson economic class was deal with among the children in F.A.O Schwartz toy store. Sylvia mentions what Miss Moore have been saying about the economic barrier she states “how money ain’t divided up right in this country. And then she gets to the part about we all poor and live in the slums, which I don’t feature” (643). Even before the children were on their journey they were being made aware of the economic gap. A gap in which there were those who had more money than others. This was a reminder of the conditions in which they lived compared to others who had the money. Some of the children on the trip identified with the economic gap among themselves. While some had a desk and a stationary “I do…I have a box stationary on my desk” (644) says Mercedes other did not even have a desk. June bug states “I don’t have a desk” (644). Some of the kids had things that the others did not though they were all from the average working class family. Economic class was then identified as Sylvia was

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