The 57 Bus

The 57 Bus


Dashka Slater

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on The 57 Bus makes teaching easy.

The 57 Bus Characters


The protagonist of The 57 Bus, and Debbie and Karl’s only child. Sasha is agender, meaning they don’t identify as either male or female, and they prefer the nongendered pronouns they/them/their instead… read analysis of Sasha


The antagonist of The 57 Bus and Jasmine’s son. As a prank, Richard lights Sasha’s skirt on fire aboard the 57 bus and is subsequently arrested and charged with two hate-crimes, but his… read analysis of Richard


Sasha’s mother and Karl’s wife. Like her husband, Debbie is accepting and supportive of Sasha’s genderqueer identity, but she has a difficult time understanding what that is exactly. She can understand being gay… read analysis of Debbie


Sasha’s father and Debbie’s husband. Karl is a kindergarten teacher at one of the local schools in Oakland, and he is an exceedingly kind and accepting man. He is understanding and supportive of… read analysis of Karl


Richard and Derriyon’s mother, Savannah’s sister, and Derick’s wife. Jasmine gives birth to Richard when she is just fifteen years old, but she is a dedicated and attentive mother. She doesn’t meet… read analysis of Jasmine
Get the entire The 57 Bus LitChart as a printable PDF.
The 57 Bus PDF

Kaprice Wilson

The truancy coordinator at Oakland High School. Kaprice is from the streets of Oakland, and after her first love, Lil’ Jerry, an active member in one of the city’s gangs, is killed in a… read analysis of Kaprice Wilson

Andrew / Samantha

Sasha’s close childhood friend. Andrew is biologically born as Samantha, but he never feels comfortable inside a female body. Sasha helps to validate Andrew’s transgender identity after his therapist dismisses him, and Sasha gives… read analysis of Andrew / Samantha


Sasha’s “soul mate, but not in the romantic sense.” Nemo is gender fluid, and like Sasha, they prefer gender neutral pronouns. Nemo’s gender fluid identity means that they “have the potential to be… read analysis of Nemo


One of Richard’s friends. Jamal is on the 57 bus the day Richard sets fire to Sasha’s skirt, and he even gives Richard the cigarette lighter and encourages him to light the… read analysis of Jamal

Bill Du Bois

Richard’s lawyer after his attack on Sasha. Du Bois is an experienced attorney of forty years. He is knowledgeable and competent, and he seems to have Richard’s best interests at heart, but he… read analysis of Bill Du Bois

The Man with a Mustache / Dan Gale

The “Good Samaritan” who puts out Sasha’s flaming skirt on the 57 bus. Dan Gale is just a regular guy, but he is the only one who actively tries to help Sasha after Richardread analysis of The Man with a Mustache / Dan Gale


A student at Oakland High School. Jeff is punished at school using restorative justice after he slaps both TC and Pancha on their backsides. With restorative justice, Jeff, TC, and Pancha are able to resolve… read analysis of Jeff


A student at Oakland High School. Jeff grabs Pancha’s backside and is punished by the school using restorative justice. Because of restorative justice, Pancha and Jeff are able to resolve their conflict, and they even… read analysis of Pancha

Nancy O’Malley

The district attorney of Alameda County. O’Malley has no problem trying Richard as an adult for his assault on Sasha, and she condemns the attack as a hate crime, which she considers a form… read analysis of Nancy O’Malley

Sujatha Baliga

The “foremost expert on restorative justice” in the United States. Sujatha refuses to “peddle” restorative justice, and she is never formally called to weigh in on Richard’s case, but she believes Sasha and Richard… read analysis of Sujatha Baliga


Sasha’s close friend. Healy has a difficult time coping with Sasha’s attack and can’t image what it must have been like for Sasha to wake up on fire. He loves his friend and supports… read analysis of Healy


Richard’s oldest friend. Richard and Cherie grow up in the same neighborhood and have known each other all their lives. Cherie supports Richard, even after he is arrested for Sasha’s assault, and she… read analysis of Cherie

Lil’ Jerry

Kaprice Wilson’s boyfriend in the 1980s. Lil’ Jerry is an active member of one of Oakland’s gangs. Although she wants to get pregnant and go on welfare (something all the women around her do)… read analysis of Lil’ Jerry
Minor Characters
Richard’s cousin. Lloyd is two years older than Richard and just as “goofy.” He is aboard the 57 bus the day Richard lights fire to Sasha’s skirt. Lloyd influences Richard’s bad behavior, but like Jamal, he is never questioned by police after Richard is arrested.
Sasha’s best friend. Like Healy, Michael also supports Sasha and wears a skirt during the Skirts for Sasha event at Maybeck.
Sasha’s friend. Carrie first lends Sasha a skirt in the tenth grade during a gag dress up day at Maybeck, and she again gives them an entire bag of skirts the following year.
Jasmine’s husband, Richard’s stepfather, and Derriyon’s father.
Jasmine’s sister and Richard’s aunt. Savannah is killed in a drive-by shooting in Oakland, leaving Jasmine the guardian of her two daughters.
Richard’s little brother, Jasmine and Derick’s son.
Dr. Grossman
Sasha’s surgeon at the San Francisco burn unit.
Shyam Sundar
One of Sasha’s teachers at Maybeck. Sasha is Shyam’s favorite student, and he finds it difficult to teach after Sasha’s attack.
Richard’s cousin. Regis is openly gay and androgynous, and he goes to all of Richard’s court appearances as a show of support.
Darris Young
An organizer from Oakland’s social justice advocacy group. Darris follows Richard’s case as it unfolds on television, and he contacts Jasmine and gets her interested in restorative justice.
Sasha’s close friend and Teah’s boyfriend.
Sasha’s close friend and Ian’s girlfriend.