First published in Toni Cade Bambara's debut short-story collection Gorilla, My Love in 1972, "The Lesson" is a short story narrated by Sylvia, a young Black girl growing up in Harlem. In the story, a highly educated Black woman named Miss Moore moves to Sylvia's neighborhood and begins to take the local children on trips to teach them about poverty and inequality. "The Lesson" follows the children on a trip to FAO Schwarz, a famous toy store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan that was known for its expensive deluxe toys.


Read our full plot summary of “The Lesson.”


See a complete list of the characters in “The Lesson” and in-depth analyses of Sylvia, Miss Moore, and Sugar.

Literary Devices

Here's where you will find analysis of the key literary devices in “The Lesson.”


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Further Study

Enhance your understanding of “The Lesson” by learning about Toni Cade Bambara and historical and literary context on the story.