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The Lesson Essay

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Social classes are a dividing system for people of a nation or country, and have existed for as long as history can date back. In the past, it has designated people to certain categories that determined the opportunities and privileges that they could receive. In the past, the social class a person belonged to was determined by which one he or she was born into, and this label generally stuck to someone for life. In more recent history, broadened opportunity has opened up an escape for those stuck in the lower classes. The social class a person is born into has become a starting point in life, and where somebody ends up is decided by his or her determination. In Toni Cade Bambara's “The Lesson,” the theme is about learning that a…show more content…
This realization excites Miss Moore because she always tells the children that where they are is who they are, but it does not have to be like that. Sylvia shows that she has learned that she can break away from her social class when she says that nobody will beat her at anything. Bambara also uses the character of Sylvia, to develop the theme in “The Lesson.” Throughout the story, Sylvia boasts a rebellious and disrespectful attitude. As narrator, she describes the setting of the story to be “back in the days when everyone was old and stupid or young and foolish and me and Sugar were just right...” (60). Much of what Sylvia thinks or does displays the feeling that she is better than everyone else, such as laughing at Miss Moore's appearance, terrorizing the West Indian kids, and taking their hair ribbons and money (60-61). She always wants to escape Miss Moore's lessons; she feels that it is not fair for her to be stuck being bored with Miss Moore on a day that should be spent swimming (61). The trip to F.A.O. Schwarz furthers Sylvia anger towards Miss Moore because she is exposed people who possess more than her. This experience makes Sylvia realize that she is not above all people and creates a desire to get ahead in life, which is expressed by the narrator's closing thoughts, “But ain't
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