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Personal connection response to the lesson by toni cade bambara

Bambara challenges her characters to rethink ideas of accepted social values and norms at the same time that she challenges her readers to do the same. Many of her stories also feature a young, intelligent female narrator living in a world that she questions and examines. In Sylvia, Bambara creates a proud, sensitive, tough girl who is far too smart to ignore the realities around her, even though she knows it might be easier to do so.

At the same time, Bambara creates a host of characters, all of whom help Sylvia explore and demonstrate the issues that face poor people and minorities in the United States.

  1. She is a young, tough, smart girl. The problem is that unless children who come from poverty make the decision to stand against the odds and succeed, that "equal crack" will not occur by itself.
  2. Conduct research to find out more about the Black Power movement.
  3. She is strongly affected by her surroundings and has the capacity to see the truth in things, for example, in the way her family treats Aunt Gretchen.

Throughout her career, Bambara used her fiction writing as a forum for teaching people how to better their lives and how to demand more for themselves. At the same time that Bambara aptly drew the African-American community, she also taught about what it could become. Her family moved frequently, and Bambara spent her childhood in different neighborhoods of New York and New Jersey. She was drawn to the arts and learning, and her childhood included the following: She also earned her Bachelor of Arts degree that year, as well as a fiction award from her college.

In 1961, she studied in Milan, Italy. She also coordinated and directed several neighborhood programs. During this period, more and more of her stories began to appear in national journals and magazines. Bambara always put her community work at the forefront, and in 1970 she merged her sociopolitical and literary interests when she edited and published an anthology entitled The Black Woman.

She continued to work with the African-American community, and the students and faculty honored her efforts. From 1959 to 1970, Bambara continued to work on her own fiction.

In 1972 she published Gorilla, My Love, which became her most widely read collection.

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Her 1977 collection The Sea Birds Are Still Alive was influenced by these travels and her continuing sociopolitical involvement. Bambara settled in Georgia, where she became a founding member of the Southern Collective of African-American Writers.

Bambara published two novels and one work of juvenile fiction in addition to her short story collections. She also worked on scriptwriting and conducted workshops to train community organizations on how to use videos to enact social changes.

Bambara died of colon cancer in December, 1995. A collection of her fiction, essays, and interviews, edited by Toni Morrisonwas published the year after her death.

Miss Moore is unlike the other African Americans in the neighborhood. She wears her hair in its natural curls, she speaks proper English, she goes by her last name, she has attended college, and she wants to teach the neighborhood children about the world around them.

One day Miss Moore takes the children on a field trip. She makes Sylvia angry when she says that they are poor and live in the slums. Miss Moore hails two cabs, and she gives Sylvia five dollars to pay their driver. When they get to their destination, Sylvia keeps the four dollars change.

Their destination is the famous Fifth Avenue toy store, F. While they look at these items, they talk about what they see. Miss Moore explains what a paperweight is for. It is the sailboat that surprises them the most, however. The children discuss the sailboat in the window and the sailboats that they make from kits. The group then goes into the store. The children walk quietly through the store, hardly touching anything at all.

Sugar reaches out to touch the sailboat, and Sylvia feels jealous and angry; she feels like punching someone. She asks Miss Moore why she brought them here, and Miss Moore asks if she is mad about something. They take the subway home.

The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara – Analysis Essay for English 101

She wonders who are the people who have so much money to spend on toys. She wonders why they have so much money, and she and her family and friends have none.

Sylvia is unhappy with Miss Moore for unsettling her day with such thoughts. Back in the building, Miss Moore asks what the children thought of the toy store. One of the children says that white people are crazy, and another girl says that she wants to go there when she gets her birthday money. Sugar surprises Sylvia by speaking up. She notes that the sailboat costs more than the cost of feeding all the children in a year.

Miss Moore gets excited by what Sugar says and encourages her to continue. Sugar does, despite Sylvia stepping on her feet to quiet her. Miss Moore looks at Sylvia and asks if she learned anything, but Sylvia walks away.

Sylvia suggests going to Hascombs and getting junk food, and then she suggests that they race. Sylvia lets Sugar run out ahead of her. Sylvia plans on going off to be alone to think about the day. Characters Big Butt Big Butt most likely derives his nickname from his eating habits.

He wants things without knowing what they are. He knows how to extract pity and financial assistance from whites. In his clear-eyed understanding of how to play the monetary game, he appears older than he really is.

Junebug Junebug is relatively quiet at the store. He sees the expensive sailboat, which launches the children on the success and failure of the fifty-cent sailboats they sail in the parks. Mercedes Mercedes is unlike the other children because she wants to be like the rich, white Americans. She has her own desk at home for doing her homework. She is at home in F. Schwarz and wants to come back with her birthday money to buy herself a toy. Mercedes, alone of the children, is unperturbed by the price tags on the toys or what they represent about America.

  • She compares Miss Moore to the rest of the adults;
  • Mercedes name suggests that her family has a bit of money which it does , and Q;
  • It was set by the way the narrator, Sylvia, viewed the world.

She takes upon herself the responsibility to teach the neighborhood children about the larger community and the problems that African Americans and poor people face in the world. She takes the neighborhood children on field trips and exposes them to various issues and ways of life.

Review of Toni Cade Bambera

She challenges the children to think about what they see—like the prices on the toys in F. Schwarz—to question the status quo, and to find out more about the world around them. His major contribution to the discussion is to openly long for the expensive sailboat and declare the unspoken—that F. Despite the friendship, Sylvia feels an element of competition with Sugar. Sugar is the only child who tells Miss Moore exactly what she wants to hear—that the toys at F.

Schwarz are indicative of the inequity of American society and do not aptly reflect the democratic principles on which the country was founded. She does, however, run off with Sylvia to spend the money left over from the cab. Sylvia Sylvia is the narrator of the story. She is a young, tough, smart girl. She is strongly affected by her surroundings and has the capacity to see the truth in things, for example, in the way her family treats Aunt Gretchen.

Sylvia gets very angry during the trip to F. Schwarz, even though she claims not to know why. This anger that people could spend so much money on useless items leads her to speak to Miss Moore about her feelings, which surprises even her.

Mercedes, for instance, has a desk at home with a box of stationary on it—gifts from her godmother—while Flyboy claims he does not even have a home. The children, however, surely understand the value of money, and they easily comprehend that the amount of money charged for the toys at F. The disparity between the way the rich people live and the way Sylvia and her neighbors live is the lesson that Miss Moore wants to impart. The children internalize this lesson in different ways.

Sugar questions whether a nation in which Topics for Further Study This story aptly reflects thoughts that were prevalent in the 1960s, which was a decade of great social change.

The Lesson Questions and Answers

Could it take place now? Compare Sylvia and Sugar. How are they alike? How are they different? Which child do you think is most affected by the events of the day? Why do you think as you do? Conduct research to find out more about the Black Power movement. Do you think Miss Moore ascribes to the beliefs of this movement?

Why or why not? Think about present-day society and the inequalities inherent in it. What groups of people do you think suffer from economic inequities?

The Lesson

Miss Moore proposes one solution to the economic unfairness that existed in the 1960s: Do you think her solution would work? What are other solutions that could have helped poor people? Schwarz is a blatant symbolism of the failure of capitalism. What other symbols can you think of that might symbolize both the failures and successes of the capitalist system? Sylvia briefly describes the physical environment in which she lives.