“Imagine for a minute what kind of society it is in which some people can spend on a toy what it would cost to feed a family of six or seven.” Miss Moore, although she may get on Slyvia’s nerves, is genuinely trying to immerse the children in the real world where society is unequal and divided. “The Lesson” by Bambara explicitly contrasts the life of the working poor with the life of those who spend luxuriously on frivolous items. I think Miss Moore’s approach draws upon direct action theories of teaching by experience. Remember when your parents used to ask you, “what did you learn at school today,” and you would fumble for a response? Well I believe that Slyvia learned a lesson that is hard to teach in school. We should learn lessons everyday, but on that day in particular, Slyvia was bitterly exposed to an ugly truth. How do you expose reality without wiping out a child’s innocence? This made me think about the toy stores I used to spend hours in when I was a kid. How did my doll house compare to that of a poverished family’s wage? I agree with Miss Moore’s direct approach, and believe that although it may be difficult, people need to be exposed to the world around them. In regard’s to Barbie, I was shocked. We live in a world of luxury while some people and their children almost freeze to death in their apartments because they cannot afford heat. I see a direct connection between this and Farmer’s “stupid deaths”. Although Farmer was talking about deaths thousands of miles away, we can relate it to the US with Barbie’s story. Imagine if her son would have died due to something as preventable as hypothermia? That would be a stupid death. We might be tempted to think that stupid deaths don’t exist in America, but they actually do. I felt the pit in my stomach grow larger as Barbie explained how she would like at food ads just to keep her hunger down while she chose to feed her kids instead of herself. Instead of pondering the injustice of the world as Slyvia does, Barbie is forced to walk around in injustice’s shoes and figure out how to be a single mother, work, take care of her children, and ask for help. Who do we think about when we spend our money? Ourselves or our neighbors? I think Barbie showed a lot of humility when she asked for help and admitted that she couldn’t walk her path alone. Slyvia, although poor, did not appreciate her lesson as much as Barbie appreciated the listening ear the lady provided that eventually helped her learn to smile for herself.
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