Toni Cade Bambara's the Lesson: the Impact of Poverty on Education

935 Words4 Pages
Katrina Nicholes-Shults
Mrs. Livingston
English 1102/S.E.1.3
February 6, 2014 Toni Cade Bambara’s The Lesson: The Impact of Poverty on Education
Toni Cade Bambara’s short story The Lesson told in first person by a character named Sylvia. Sylvia is a poor student who resides in the ghetto of New York with her friends and family. The story begins in the summertime in New York, where the children are out of school, playing and having fun; but when a new neighbor Miss Moore move in, things change. Miss Moore is an educated African American woman, who embarks on an educational journey with the children. She realizes that the children lack experience and knowledge of a world outside of poverty, so she takes them on a trip outside their
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This made them feel unwelcomed. Excited about seeing all the toys, they quickly forgot about their purpose of being there. The purpose was to see how people live in other areas, how society treat those with money compared to those less fortunate and the importance of an education. Just because you are poor, do not mean you have to live poorly. At the end of the trip, Miss Moore hoped the children understood that they have a choice and opportunity to be successful and have a better life. “She concluded the journey by asking the children to explain what they learned”. (Cartwright 62)
I recall growing up when my mother would lecture me prior entering a store. My mother would say, when we go in the store, do not touch anything because she did not have money to pay for broken items; or do you have the money to pay for it? I grew up poor, on welfare, and lived in the projects, so I can relate to Sylvia. However, my mother instilled in me that being poor do not define me, but that education is vital for survival. Just because one the lack resources for a better education, do not mean one must give up; perseverance and determination make you strong. If you think it, you can achieve it was my mother’s motto.

Works Cited
Bambara, Toni Cade. 40 Short Stories; A Portable

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