Paper: A Literary Analysis of the Universal Themes in the Lesson and the Prisoner Who Wore Glasses

Sylvia's reactions to seeing a lady on Fifth Avenue in a fur coat, ".. . as hot as it is ", is characteristic of her ideals. She comments, "White folks crazy " in her surmised observation and limited insight (5). Window shopping at F.A.O. Schwartz, Sylvia and her companions are amused and flabbergasted at the prices of things they have no appreciation for; they are outraged at the prices for things they have gotten more cheaply. Sylvia assumes she knows what money is because she can steal it easily enough, she has trouble, though, dealing with the fact that people have money for things she doesn't know enough about to want (2) & (3). She realizes that she lives very differently from the “crazy people" who can afford them. Sylvia's later enlightenment is foreshadowed in describing herself and Sugar as "surly, . . .one of Miss Moore's words" (2). Evident influence is compounded when she decides to spend some time to think the day and her lesson through (55). It is interesting to watch the protagonist in "The Lesson" bear similarity to the antagonist in "The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses". Sylvia and Hannetjie, both use condescension to elevate themselves and avoid questioning their own purpose and capacity. Brille, as the protagonist can be likened to Miss Moore, Sylvia's antagonist. He and she both optimize hard-learned lessons (both focused on what children must learn in order to survive & achieve potential) in drawing the best from others in order to better their communities. Ironically, they do this by pushing their pupils' capacity to comprehend to the limit. They also stress the importance of working for opportunities where they exist, and the personal understanding necessary to create these chances. Sylvia's and Hannetjie’s reactions to their "teachers" both seem to imply, it is necessary to know your place in life in marking your goals and it is necessary to know your goals in applying your motives....