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The Lesson

             Point of view is an essential element to a reader's comprehension of a story. The point of view shows how the narrator thinks, speaks, and feels about any particular situation. In Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson," the events are told through the eyes of a young uptown girl named Sylvia. The reader gets a limited point of view because the events are told strictly by Sylvia. This fact can influence the reader to see things just as she does. The strong language gives a unfamiliar reader an illustration of how people in the city speak. Bambara does this to show a different kind of life that may be new to the reader and may aid in the comprehension of the street life. .
             The reader gets a sense of Sylvia's personality in the very beginning of the story as she talks about Miss Moore. Sylvia's opinion of her is not one of fondness. She says that she hates Miss Moore as much as the "winos who pissed on our handball walls and stand up on our hallways and stairs so you couldn't halfway play hide-and-seek" (307). By comparing the hatred to something she enjoys, we see what a kid in the slums does for fun. Sylvia feels that Miss Moore always plans "boring-ass things for us to do" (307). .
             Miss Moore seems to be different from what Sylvia is use to. Sylvia harps on the fact that Miss Moore is educated. This shows that Sylvia is not use to being around educated people. She dislikes the fact that Miss Moore is a woman with "nappy hair and proper speech with no makeup"(307). Sylvia continues to describe her as a "nappy head bitch and her goddamn college degree" and would rather do things that are fun instead of listening to her. .
             Miss Moore attempts to teach the children about the difference of how some people spend money. Sylvia feels insulted and thinks Miss Moore is calling them "retards" when she asks the group do they know what money is. The first lesson is to figure out how much of a tip they are suppose to leave the cab driver.

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