The Lesson, By Toni Cade Bambara

1090 words - 4 pages

Creative writing is a form of art. However, the need for consistency in creative writing is critical for the success of the underlying story. In summary, I did not like the story. This story is quite inconsistent and thus unpalatable as a creative piece. The Lesson was successful to some level especially in enacting the concept of equality in resource distribution. The success of this concept is clarified by the pricy toys. The most astonishing toy was the “hand-crafted sailboat of fiberglass at one thousand one hundred ninety-five dollars” (Bambara 93). The author succeeds in accentuating the depth of resource inequality with the $ 35 clown that could somersault on a bar. The number of things that $ 35 could purchase in this part of the world was hilariously exhilarating including a new buck bed for junior, rent, piano bill, among others.
Another concept that is successfully brought out in this story is one of a rotten society. It is absurd that children would be using such gross vulgar language and description. The story reflects on the society and the code of conduct that society lives by. Throughout the story, there is a consistent use of vulgar language, which depicts a society that does not shy away from using vulgar language in front of their children.
The concept of gossip is successfully developed throughout the story. The introduction of the story is full of gossiping. The description that the author gives concerning Miss Moore is full of gossip. This concept is consistent throughout the story as description of individuals is given in painstaking detail.
Problems with the Story
This story has numerous problems. First, the story tends to emphasize more on use of vulgar language. Apparently, the lesson that the author intended to have prominence is overshadowed by gross vulgar language. An excerpt from the story, “And she was black as hell, cept for her feet, which were fish-white and spooky. And she was always planning these boring-ass things for us to do…” that indicates consistency in vulgar language (Bambara 90).
It is absurd to find that children were fond of vulgar language to a point that the adults thought of this ideation as a common occurrence. Basic human behavior tends to compel children to be well-mannered, which includes use of ethical language when referring to or addressing others. Although this story tries to create the possibility of a slum dwelling, this is inconsistent with proper language because it tends to glorify vulgar language rather than the disparities in equitable resource distribution.
At the inception of the story, the author posits that the narrator (Sylvia) and Sugar were the only people in that community who were right. However, as the story unfolds, it is clear that the narrator’s character is unbecoming especially use of vulgar and abusive language. The narrator’s level of gossip is much higher than other characters in the story. As I read through the story, I could not help but wonder how...

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