The Lesson Commencement Speech Analysis

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Since ancient times, humankind has always sought knowledge and wisdom. However, the path to get them has never been a simple one, due to through time, people with power and money have tried to keep humanity in the “darkness;” therefore, is up the people to find their way to the “light.” Having that in mind, Toni Cade Bambara in his short story “The Lesson,” and David Foster Wallace in the essay “Commencement Speech, Kenyon College,” develop the topic of the importance of education. “The lesson” is about a black lady, from probably the 1920’s or 1930’s, who managed to go to college; and now is trying to inspire a group of black kids to do the same. Whereas, Wallace’s essay is an adaptation from the commencement speech to the graduates from Kenyon…show more content…
In Bambara’s “The Lesson,” it is introduced “Miss Moore,” it is said that “she was black as hell, [ex]cept for her feet, which were fish-white and spooky” (Bambara, 96). More important, “She’d been to college and said it was only right that she should take responsibility for the young ones’ education, [even though] she not even related by marriage or blood” (Bambara, 96). As a result, she takes the task of trying to motivate a group of African-American kids, from a poor neighborhood, to think by themselves, and educate them. However, the kids seem fairly unpleased, which can be seen when Sylvia, the story narrator, says: “She [Miss Moore] was always planning these boring-ass things for us to do . . .” (Bambara, 96). On the other hand, in Wallace’s “Commencement Speech, Kenyon College” is also about education; however, it is aimed to college graduates, people who have an education already. Furthermore, Wallace tries to teach that education is not all about what people learn from textbooks in a classroom. In fact, he tries to teach that education is also learning how to deal with the frustrating “day-to-day.” Therefore, even though both stories are about education, how they approach the topic is different one
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