Character Analysis: The Lesson By Tobias Wolff

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How does one know that they do not live as well as someone else does? How does one know that they live in a bad part of town? The answers are found out through learning and experiences. Learning may come from reading a book, newspaper, magazine, or even people. People can teach others though their own experiences and trial and errors. At first, a superficial reader might think that Sylvia is stuck up and ungrateful but, with the help of “The Rich Brother”, we see that she wants to try new things out on her own and sometimes doesn’t understand what she had in life. In “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara, Miss Moore teaches Sylvia and her friends through her own experiences. In “The Rich Brother” by Tobias Wolff, Pete tries to teach his…show more content…
Her first attitude is one of irritation. It is the summer and Sylvia does not want to be sitting through this boring lecture. She would “rather go to the pool or to the show where it is cool”(Bambara 1148). As Miss Moore is lecturing about money, Sylvia could care less towards what she is saying, she hears Miss Moore, but she doesn’t listen to her. On that particular day, however, Miss Moore decides to teach them a lesson at a New York City toy store. After the taxi ride, Sylvia arrived at 5th Avenue, a very wealthy area of New York City, where some of the kids see immediate signs of a better living. Two things happen right away that tells them that they are definitely not in their neighborhood anymore. First they see “everybody dressed up in stockings and one lady in a fur coat, hot as it is”(Bambara 1149). This is where the changes of Sylvia’s attitude first start to take place. She is no longer irritated at Miss Moore. She is angered at the fact that there is a woman wearing a fur coat, which leads her to say, “White folks crazy”(Bambara 1149). After window-shopping at the toy store, her attitude goes from slightly angered to upset. The first item they see is a microscope for three hundred dollars. The only thing Sylvia said after seeing the microscope is that it would take “too long”(Bambara 1150) for one of the kids to save up their allowances to buy

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