Growing Up Means More Than Simply Aging, Essay

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Growing up means more than simply aging, becoming taller, bigger, etc., it also involves a certain amount of intellectual and emotional maturing. This means that in order to grow up, people must dispel childish notions and beliefs, and come to have a deeper understanding of life. Money, or more properly economics, and how people deal with it, understand it, and relate to it is often a measure of how mature a person has become. Financial success can be an effective way to calculate how well a person has matured, however, if taken too far it can also lead to a loss of human emotions and feelings. Two short stories which deal with the subject of maturity and money are The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara, and Tobias Wolff's The Rich Brother. Both of these stories have money at their center, and both seek to send a message, however, both stories use money in contrasting ways. The Lesson demonstrates how money, or at least economic equality, is something that a person should strive for, while The Rich Brother is an example of how money can have a dehumanizing effect on those who love it too much.

Toni Cade Bambara's The Lesson is a tale which attempts to deliver the message that economic inequality equals social and intellectual inequality. It is the story of a group of poor children who visit an expensive toy store. It is the hope of their adult mentor, Ms. Moore, that the children will learn a lesson about economic inequality from visiting this extravagant shop. In the end one child does learn the lesson that Ms. Moore sought to teach that day, that "equal chance to pursue happiness means an equal crack at the dough.
" (Bambara) On the other hand is Tobias Wolff's The Rich Brother which is a tale of two brothers; Pete who is wealthy, and Donald, who is not. While traveling, the brothers pick up a passenger who swindles the destitute brother out of the $100 the wealthy brother had just given him. But while Donald did not understand the value of money and put too little value on it, Pete had the opposite problem and put too much value on it. Ultimately this story demonstrates how family, not money should be the most important thing in a person's life.

Both stories use people who are economically ignorant as examples of immaturity, for instance, the group of children in The Lesson demonstrate the ignorance of economics that can inflict the poor and uneducated. The unnamed narrator, presumably Bambara, represents the majority of the people and does not learn the lesson of economic inequality Ms. Moore attempted to teach, while another child does. But in The Rich Brother, immaturity is represented by Donald's inability to grasp the seriousness of giving $100 to a swindler. It is the character's failure to understand the economic implications of their actions that is equated with childishness and immaturity.

In The Lesson, the failure to understand the economics of the world is equated with immaturity. When Ms. Moore asked the children about a society in….....

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