Toni Cade Bambara Short Stories

“The Lesson”

An inner-city class goes on a field trip to an expensive toy store. The children try to understand the differences in people’s wealth. (Summary & Analysis)

“The Lesson” is the first story in the Amazon preview of The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story(21% in)

“My Man Bovanne”

Bovanne, an older, blind man is a guest at a fund-raising event for an African-American political group. Hazel, a relative of one of the group’s members, dances with Bovanne, causing a stir at the event.

This is the first story in the preview of Gorilla, My Love.

“The Hammer Man”

After a verbal altercation with the narrator, Manny has been hanging out at her door for a while. She’s been hiding, saying she has yellow fever. Some adults intervene to no avail. It comes to an end when Manny falls off a roof. There’s an incident later at a basketball court.

“Talkin Bout Sonny”

Lee, Delauney and Betty talk about Sonny, a man who just killed his wife. They focus on his explanation, that something came over him. Delauney understands this reason and tries to explain it to the others.

“Raymond’s Run”

A young girl, Hazel, trains for a May Day race while looking after her older, mentally challenged brother, Raymond. Hazel is known as the fastest runner in her neighborhood and is determined to live up to her reputation and beat her rivals.

Read here

“Blues Ain’t No Mockin’ Bird”

Some children are playing in the front yard with the two neighbor children while their grandmother works in the back. Two men are in the field nearby with a movie camera. They say they are making a film about food stamps. The grandmother has asked them to stop, but they simply moved farther away.

Read “Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird”

“Gorilla, My Love”

The young narrator tells us that Hunca Bubba (Uncle Bubba) is going to start using his proper name. He has met a woman and is going to marry her. The narrator remembers a time when the kids in the family went to see a movie called Gorilla, My Love; they were disappointed when the theatre showed something else instead.

Read “Gorilla, My Love”