Summary and Response to Several Works of Literature “The Lesson” Summary Toni Cade Bambara’s “The Lesson” is a somber, first-person narrative of a young black child’s education in the ways of the white world. The unnamed narrator—who seems to be a boy, given his casual misogyny (he calls Miss Moore, the teacher of the eponymous lesson, a bitch, and refers to one of his cousins derisively as a faggot)—describes a trip to the famous toy store, F.A.O. Schwarz. The visit is led by an older woman, Miss Moore, who is a great proponent of education. She seems to have brought a bunch of young black children here to show them the heart of the white world. This world emerges as a consumer’s paradise that, at the very end of the story, tugs at the...The end:
.....-doubt. Reaction Trauma narratives can be self-indulgent. That Walker can tell her story so pithily, and with so little pity for herself, is remarkable, and plays no small role in making this story great. The story is also intimately plausible, explaining as it does the human ability to swing from deep despair to joyful acceptance of even the bitterest aspects of life. My only concern is Walker’s ambiguity in introducing, and the neglecting, racial themes. Surely it is of great significance that a black man once thinks that her eyes are blue and is struck by them from a distance. But the story fails to exploit this very promising theme. References Timmer, Joseph & Hairston, Maxine. The Riverside Reader. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1983.