Both the story by Toni Cade Bambara and the speech by Barbie are about poverty and the lessons that can be learned while living in it. In the story, Miss Moore seems to be trying to teach the children two separate lessons about poverty and the conditions that the they live in. The first, most obvious lesson is that resources are not divided up equally. Some people have a lot of money, while some people have very little. Although it is not at all fair or just, Miss Moore explains to the children that unfortunately, that’s the way the world is for the time being. The other lesson that Miss Moore seems to be teaching the children is that in order to escape poverty, they will really have to work at it. It is clear that the children will have to work so much harder to get their college degrees and earn a decent living than children who have simply been born into wealthy or well-off families (the children who’s parents can afford to buy them thousand-dollar toy boats). On the other hand, the lesson that Barbie explains that she learned through living in poverty is that one should never be afraid to admit that they are struggling. Those living in poverty carry such a heavy burden with the secrets that they feel that they are forced to keep. For most of her life, Barbie felt the need to keep the fact that she was struggling a secret (for self-preservation and the preservation of her family). However, when Barbie finally was able to admit to someone that she was struggling, she felt a huge burden being lifted. Instead of being scolded, she found her voice.
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