The Theme Of Education In The Lesson By Toni Bambara

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In regard to the topic of privilege, the short story The Lesson by Toni Bambara stresses that education is a means to overcome poverty. This thematic statement is furthered constantly in the text by literary elements such as setting, characterization and point of view. First, is the characterization of Miss Moore. Throughout the story, Miss Moore demonstrates an interesting comparison to the children. In many ways, she provides a contrast to them, which is shown immediately in her introduction, “...this lady moved on our block with nappy hair, and proper speech, and no makeup. And quite naturally, we laughed at her… Miss Moore was her name. The only woman on the block with no first name”. Furthermore, Miss Moore’s obvious dedication and value for education is somewhat unaligned with the children’s own views about education. Nonetheless, she aims to use the children’s disadvantaged lives in order to prove to them the value of education, which remains a central theme throughout the story. However, she is able to accomplish this because of a few key commonalities between herself and the children. They do, after all live in the same neighborhood, and, more poignantly, both face challenges associated with being black in America. This point brings us to the next major literary element of the story: setting. Published in 1972, it can be inferred that The Lesson takes place in this same era. The 1970’s provided a key area of public and societal reform after the American Civil
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