Analysis Of Toni Cade Bambara's The Lesson

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In The Lesson, written by Toni Cade Bambara, it begins with Sylvia giving her own description on Miss Moore. She is confused as to why Miss Moore always gathers the kids from the neighborhood and takes them on boring outings. Sylvia mentions that Miss Moore is one of the few who has a college education, but she does not seem too impressed and would rather spend her day at the pool with her cousin, Sugar. As they enter the taxi cab, Miss Moore hands Sylvia a five dollar bill to tip the driver at the end of the trip. However, Sylvia has a difficulty time figuring out how much she should give the driver and decides against tipping him but would rather give him nothing. Sylvia believes she needs the money more than the taxi driver. Once all the…show more content…
When the narrators grandfather was passing away he had a few words for the family, but they only confuse the narrator and he describes them as a curse. The narrator gave an impressive speech at his graduation and was invited to give the same speech at a meeting. When he arrives at the hotel where the meeting was being held, he was told that a boxing match was planned and he will also take part in it. The ballroom of the hotel is filled with white men of the town that are smoking and drinking, this causes the narrator to be suspicious of the whole event. A naked woman is brought in front of the narrator and the other men who will be in the match. The men cannot control themselves when the woman begins to dance, especially the white men. Once the woman is done, the men are blindfold and the battle royal begins. The narrator tries to keep away from all the punches by pretending to be knocked out, however he is them pulled back up. As the match goes on, less and less people are left in the ring and in the end the lat two standing are the narrator and one of the biggest men, Tatlock. Their blindfolds are removed and the narrator tries to bargain with Tatlock and promises to give him seven dollars in order to easy on him, it does not work and the narrator is knocked out. After…show more content…
His past in slavery is something he was unable to forget and believes that being a slave made him a traitor because he did not fight back. He continued to live as a slave, never once questioning the white mans authority. At the ballroom in the hotel, the boys in the battle royal are used as entertainment and the narrator realizes that his speech may not be the reason he is at the meeting. During the match, the narrator finds himself in a struggle for survival and tries to get away from participating but he must fight his way through. During his speech, the narrator says “social equality” instead of social responsibility” and the white men are quick to point out his mistake ,”We mean to do right by you, but you’ve got to know your place at all times.”(Ellison 290) The narrator is obedient when the men tell him to stay in his place and to not forget his role. They reward him for being obedient by awarding him a scholarship and a briefcase. Later on that night he has a dream that his grandfather hands him an envelope with a paper that says,“To Whom It May Concern,’ I intoned. ‘Keep This Nigger-Boy Running.”(Ellison 291) . The white men awarded the narrator with a scholarship but they see his education as a joke and believe he will not

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