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The Lesson and Myth of the Cave

            Not even a hand in front of the face can be seen in the pitch black moist cavern. Suddenly a dim ring in the distant corner begins to expand and expand until eventually all that was once hidden reveals itself in a blinding white mess of truth. Eventually pupils expand adjusting to brightness of the new view and as all comes into focus the brain takes over motor functions. A decision is made whether to stay or seek the dark shelter that was so familiar. This circumstance is experienced by the characters in Plato's "Myth of the Cave" in both metaphorical and literal senses. This "cave" can also be seen in a different perspective as it is depicted in Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson". The experience of the characters in both stories compare both metaphorical settings and a literal dilemmas. .
             Plato's story depicts prisoners chained at the neck and legs so that they could not move their heads or bodies. The prisoners have been inside the cave since childhood and it is their reality. The prisoners in Plato's story can be compared to the children from Harlem in Bambara's story as the children also grew up in the metaphorical cave of Harlem, New York. The children's metaphorical cave of Harlem has a direct comparison to the prisoner's cave as the prisoners were in a metaphorical cave of ignorance due to their under education and under exposure. In both stories the characters knew nothing about the outside world and some lived happily in ignorance such as Sylvia in Bambara's story. .
             "The Myth of a Cave" depicts a large fire that is described to be at a distance behind the prisoners, between the prisoners and fire a short wall was built. Behind this wall men carry various objects that project shadows onto the opposing wall in front of the prisoners for them to see. The prisoners only see the shadows and hear their carrier's voices. This can be compared to the isolation the children experienced from the world outside Harlem as the children grew up in poverty.

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