The 57 Bus

The 57 Bus

by

Dashka Slater

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The 57 Bus can help.

The 57 Bus: Part 3: Let’s All Take Care of Each Other Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Richard never writes another letter; however, Karl writes one to the parents and staff at the school where he teaches. In Karl’s letter, he says that “it’s really important to keep in mind that none of us can know the mind, motivations, or intentions of the person who set flame to Sasha’s clothing.” The only thing that is known for certain, Karl says, is that the sixteen-year-old kid the police have in custody was “playing with fire” and “he gravely underestimated the consequences of that.”
Karl’s letter reflects his own belief that Richard should not be tried as an adult. Karl’s reference to Richard as “a kid” and his acknowledgement that Richard “gravely underestimated the consequences” of the attack implies that Richard should not be held to the same standard of punishment as adults who have a firm understanding of actions and consequences.
Themes
Adolescent Crime vs. Adult Crime Theme Icon
There are plenty of “assumptions,” Karl says, about why this boy started the fire, “but they are just that: assumptions.” Karl then goes on to fully explain Sasha’s agender status. “Different people dress or behave or look differently,” Karl says. “And that’s a GOOD thing.” Furthermore, Karl says, “I have a feeling that if he had seen Sasha’s skirt as an expression of another kid’s unique, beautiful self, and had smiled and thought, ‘I hella love Oakland,’ I wouldn’t be writing this now.” Karl ends his letter with “Let’s all take care of each other.”
Despite Karl’s belief that Richard shouldn’t be tried as an adult, he still condemns Richard’s actions. Richard targets Sasha because they are different, and Karl’s letter stresses this unfortunate fact; however, Karl’s letter also attempts to educate others about Sasha’s differences, much like Slater’s book, and this is the first step to inclusion and social justice.
Themes
Adolescent Crime vs. Adult Crime Theme Icon
Discrimination and Social Justice Theme Icon