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Poverty and Wealth Explicatory Essay


“The Lesson” is a short story composed in 1972 by Bambara. This piece conforms to the fiction genre; furthermore, the author employs different styles in writing such as linguistic, non-genre plot, imagery and humanistic subject that attracts diverse readers. The conjured narration is set in the interior cities within New York amongst the poor, lower class and uneducated city children.

The main theme of narration is Poverty and Wealth. Poverty typifies deprivation; thus, lacking necessities like foodstuff, accommodation, clothing and water. Concurrently, wealth is the profusion of valuable income or possession of extra material for leisure.

The connotation of the theme is to lessen the gap amongst the wealthy and deprived. This theme contributes to the meaning of “The Lesson” because the narrator illustrates the differences that exist amid the prosperous and poor kids in the fictitious story. This theme is relevant in the short story since it helps the reader to comprehend the divergence amidst the pitiable and rich. Therefore, it is a valuable premise since it may culminate in societal development and the decrease of the gap among the pitiable and rich.

The narrator expresses the theme, poverty and wealth, by denoting that children in the story come from pitiable families. The narrator says, “We all poor and live in the slums” (Bambara para 3). This means that, the children originate from slums since one can find apartments characterized with drunkards and smell of urine in its hallway in such residences. This situation noticeably lacks in wealthy apartments.

Analysis of the contrary dimension, which is the expression of wealth, is evident when Sylvia says “And Fat Butt already wasting his peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich like the pig he is” (Bambara, Par 2). Here, the narrator was trying to show the variances amongst the affluent and pitiable.

Indeed, Fat Butt was already satisfied with his food consequently wasting it; however, Sylvia and Sugar were desperately leaning on the mailbox watching other kids eating. Miss Moore expresses this theme by asking Sylvia and Sugar whether they acknowledge the authenticity and originality of money. This assertion postulates that the story housed persons with real money and fake money. Therefore, Miss Moore was defining to Sylvia and Sugar the gap that existed between them and her. This is upon correlation to their money status.

As the kids strolled on the street, Miss Moore told them “money ain’t divided up right in this country” this shows that the city housed persons with noticeable proportions of money. As the kids, reach the fifth avenue, they spot people dressed in different attractive styles and Miss Moore tells them “this is the place”, implying the differences that existed between that place and their normal homes (Bambara, Par 4).

Indeed, it had unique feature that the kids were unfamiliar with, a place, which belonged to higher-class people due to expensive equipment unlike their poor homes.

The narrator illuminates the poverty and wealth theme during the kid’s trip, Junebug asks them. “Don’t you have a calendar and a pencil case and a blotter and a letter-opener on your desk at home where you do your homework?” (Bambara par 13). From the ensuing conversation, one can tell that despite of Mercedes having all the stated things at home, other kids like Sugar, Sylvia and Flyboy lacked a desk, homework and homes.

In the narration, “The Lesson”, by Toni Cade Bambara, the theme of scarcity and wealth become manifest in different incidences among the kids. It shows how poor people live differently from rich. Therefore, I will advocate for equality when it comes to income distribution, which will enhance development.

Works Cited

Bambara, Toni. The Lesson. 1972. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2018, June 8). Poverty and Wealth. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/poverty-and-wealth/

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"Poverty and Wealth." IvyPanda, 8 June 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/poverty-and-wealth/.

1. IvyPanda. "Poverty and Wealth." June 8, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/poverty-and-wealth/.


IvyPanda. "Poverty and Wealth." June 8, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/poverty-and-wealth/.


IvyPanda. 2018. "Poverty and Wealth." June 8, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/poverty-and-wealth/.


IvyPanda. (2018) 'Poverty and Wealth'. 8 June.

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