The Lesson: I’ll give you a hint, it’s not guilt

The title of Bambara’s narrative is not “The Lesson” just because it sounded good. And it is not a coincidence that this narrative was paired with Barbie’s story. When I first read it and heard Barbie’s story, I thought of guilt. For each character, it kept reappearing. The parents feeling the guilt that they could not educate their children like Miss Moore could. The children feeling the guilt of wanting toys that would cost far more than what their family could afford. Barbie feeling the guilt that her children would never know that the cold outside is not supposed to inside too. And then came my guilt, the feeling that I do spend more than $1000 to eat a semester at SLU. The guilt that I will get the college degree, when it is something so many want, but will not achieve. The guilt that I can go to the doctor whenever I am sick without being ashamed of the cause. Or the guilt that I have not paid attention to the poor, or have put my wants far above the needs of those in poverty. I could not help feeling ashamed of where I am. However, then I thought of Miss Moore. I could not think of any way she showed guilt. She was privileged and educated, but did not feel bad for it. Although both stories express the injustices of poverty, I do not think that Barbara is trying to make those who are not poor feel guilty. The real lesson in the story is quite the opposite. Like Miss Moore, we need to use the opportunities we have to help those around us. She uses her education and money to help the children in the neighborhood. She is not doing it out of guilt, and she is not doing it to look better than those in the neighborhood. Miss Moore is making a difference because she has the power to do so. Everyone in this world has the will inside him or her to make the change we want to see in the world. It does not require money; it does not require power. All it takes is the strength to see the injustices and act on them. This is what the lesson is in the stories. This is what we need to feel when we see injustice day to day.

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1 Response to The Lesson: I’ll give you a hint, it’s not guilt

  1. ardenscor says:

    Great post! (I also really like your username, but that’s aside the point 🙂 )

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