Character Perspective in Toni Bambara's "The Lesson"

One’s perspective about society can be altered significantly for the better once it becomes exposed to a life lesson. The sensation of finding out the true and heartbreaking state of one’s social status position among others and knowing that not much can be done about it is dreadful. While a number of people ignore the reality of poverty and its capacity for a meaningless future, others become mentally stronger about their situation and devise personal objectives which can lift them on the social ladder. In Toni Bambara’s short story “The Lesson”, the narrator is given a life lesson against her will that, in the end, proves to be more significant to her than she first realized. The character introduced by Bambara as the eye-opener for the poverty-stricken kids is an educated and intelligent African-American lady who noticed that they are in need of assistance for overcoming adversity. Sadly, poverty is still a big issue today that prospering countries need to deal with. It’s the same problem occurring in the setting of this story, which is just around 40 years ago. Living in a racial and class injustice environment, the narrator in “The Lesson” realizes the differences between people within a society through social issues, economic problems and the depths one would surpass to achieve superiority.
Sylvia, the narrator, faces social adversity when her family had troubles with poverty and were forced to move up North. Her family’s decision to move in a big city like New York was an attempt to create a better future for everyone. This, however, failed because their position on the social ladder is underneath the normal class citizens who do not have problems paying the rent or bringing food on the table by a big margin. When Miss Moore gets introduced in the short story, the narrator quickly reveals how she hates the woman because her parents would “yank [her] head into some kinda shape and crisp up [her] clothes so [she’d] be presentable for travel with Miss Moore”...

Similar Essays