Throughout at the P.O.” and “The lesson” these

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life people go through hardships, they go through life lessons, and they go
through change. When going through change people tend to lose a sense of
innocence. They acquire  some type of
knowledge that is not only new to them but that is allowing them to grow as
individuals. With this being said, in the narratives ” Why I Live at the P.O.”
and  “The lesson”  these individuals not only lose some sort of
innocence, but they gain a sense of self.

begin, in the short story ” The Lesson” Sylvia is an adolescent who comes from
a low income area in New York City. She portrays herself as a know it all who
can do anything by herself and does not need anybody’s help. Sylvia despises
her teacher named Ms. Moore. She is an African American women who has a college
degree, and she serves as a mentor for the local children. Sylvia says “And she
was black as snake pit cept for her pess. which were fish white and spooky” (
Bambara 116 ) . This quote was used to show how Ms. Moore is Native American
and that she is the children’s interconnection within the white community. Ms.

Moore takes kids from the lower class part of New York to F. A. O Schwarz which
is a prestigious play store for children. She chooses to do this so the kids
become aware of their societal and economical state by pushing them to see the
difference between them and some people who buy toys for thousands of dollars
from this shop. These kids understand the value of money and they understand
that  the total amount of money charged
for playing at F.A.O. Schwarz is vast. The kids compared a sailing boat with
the price of $1,195 to the ones they make from a small kit, which costs about
.50 cents. Sylvia became stunned at the cost value of the sailing boat. She
stated  “That much money should last
everlastingly. ” (Bambara 119 ). This started the loss of her innocence and
this is where she started getting angry. “White folks crazy” ( Bambara 121 )
said Rosie Giraffe. Sugar then engaged in conversation with Sylvia saying she
was angry with the advancements of the twenty-four hours “that this is not a
democracy if you ask me. Equal opportunity to prosecute felicity means an equal
cleft at the dough. don’t it? “. 
(Bambara 121 ). At the beginning of the narrative Ms. Moore brought the
kids to F.A.O. Schwarz in taxi cabs, after leaving the store she brought them
back on the train trying to add transportation into her lesson. By utilizing
cabs and F. A. O. Schwarz she showed the children what could be and what they
could have. But then, by bringing them back through the train she brought them
back to reality of their own world. Sylvia, despite all of her anger was shown
to be genuinely affected by the lesson. Following Sylvia’s loss of innocence
through this experience she has had her eyes opened  to new and different opportunities. ” I’m
traveling to the west terminal and so over to the Drive to believe this
twenty-four hours through.” ( Bambara 121 ). Just from that twenty-four hours
her life will always be affected since it was where she lost her innocence and
opened herself up to higher opportunity. Ms. Moore strived to give all her
‘students’ this same reaction and show them something different. 

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the narrative ” Why I Live at the P.O.” Sister, the first person narrator,  is a dry character in the story. She causes
external conflicts within her family as a result of her conflicts within. She
has a lack of self-confidence and a need to be the center of attention. Due to
her internal conflicts, she is driven to move out of her family’s home and into
the post office. In the beginning of the story the reader has sympathy for
Sister due to the conflicts that are going on, but later on in the story those
conflicts were shown to be caused by Sister herself. Sister lives in a small
town in Mississippi with her mother, grandfather and uncle in their home. This
leads to her being the center of attention up until her younger sister, Stella
Rondo returns home. When Stella-Rondo arrived it sparked a conflict with Sister
right away because Sister is clearly jealous of her and has been for a while.

Sister’s jealousy toward Stella is clear when Sister says “She’s always had
anything in the world she wanted and then she’d throw it away.”(594). This
example shows how Sister has a hatred toward Stella Rondo returning for many
reasons, and this is the beginning of the conflict that she begins to have with
herself.  It’s clear that Sister felt
unnoticed by her relatives and that the arrival of her sister took away from
her spot light. She states, “Now if it had been me that trotted in from
Illinois and brought a peculiar-looking child or two, I shudder to think of the
reception I’d of got, much less controlled the diet of an entire family.”(597).

This shows  Sister felt as though she was
being excluded and not given any attention. Sister showed herself as being a
one sided narrator who is overtaken by her jealousy and need for attention when
stating,  “I was getting along fine with
Mama, Papa-Daddy and Uncle Rondo until my sister Stella-Rondo just separated
from her husband and came back home again.”(593). She believes that her family
has no love and care for her, when in reality it is Sister who has not shown
any compassion throughout the story. Having nobody left to beg for attention,
she began taking little things in the home she considered hers.  But, the reality of the situation is that as
an attention seeker,  Sister wouldn’t be
able to isolate herself for that  long.

She states,  “And that’s the last I’ve
laid eyes on any of my family or my family laid eyes on me for five solid days
and nights.”(601). Sister is marking the time, in hopes that a member of her
family will come to the post office and beg for her return as she states in,
“And if Stella-Rondo should come to me this minute, on bended knees, and
attempt to explain the incidents of her life…I’d simply put my fingers in both
my ears and refuse to listen.”(602). It is clear to the reader that Sister is
hoping that Stella will come to her in hopes of 
giving her the attention she is wishing for. Throughout the story, Sister
loses innocence in coming to the realization not everyone is going to chase
after her, and she has to get over her insecurities and cope with them rather
than lashing out at the people who love her.

in all, these narratives showed importance in how people need to look at the
larger picture rather than staying stuck in a bubble. Life is going to through
conflict at you, and you need to face it fearlessly because you never know what
you can learn from it. Also these narratives show how everyone goes through a
phase of losing their innocence, and it can be scary but very beneficial in the
long run. In the first narrative Sister loses her innocence in realizing she
can’t always be the center of attention, and in the second narrative Sylvia
loses her innocence by getting a taste of 
a better lifestyle and choosing to do better overall. 

Categories: Lifestyle


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