Marxist Criticism In 'The Lesson'

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Marxist Criticism, specifically the Hegelian Dialectic is applicable in Bambara’s short story, “The Lesson”. Social class is predominant at the time “The Lesson” was written and the story focuses on the main character, Sylvia’s perception of her own class, the struggles that it brings and what she is then introduced to by Miss Moore. The Hegelian Dialect can be applied to this story as the transformation ensues within Sylvia upon her enlightenment of the difference in social classes. What appeared to be anger, frustration and resentment within Sylvia, undergoes a conversion into an upheaval curiosity of a newfound “culture”. Does the enlightenment occurring within Sylvia, present a new synthesis of which she uses as a platform for change? Hegelian Dialectic is founded on socioeconomic phases. According to the German philosopher Goerg Willhelm Friedrich Hegel, there are three phases that make up the Hegelian Dialectic which evolve into a cycle. The first phase, being the “thesis” is what is considered to be the economic norm. What Sylvia is accustomed to based on her social-economic class. The thesis is then contravened by a “antithesis”. The “antithesis” is what would be considered the other sign of the coin. An introduction to another world that generates …show more content…

In fact, as the author in this story, Toni Cade Bambara, Sylvia grew up in a very poor neighborhood. Sylvia’s understanding of the world is limited to what she experiences within her neighborhood and her tiny apartment. Scarcity and want are no strangers to her. Luckily, Sylvia and the other kids have Miss Moore as a mentor. Miss Moore begins to work within the kids’ environment to enrich them inasmuch as possible with education. Confronted with much resistance; especially from Sylvia, Miss Moore introduces Sylvia and the kids to another social class; another

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