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.
Summary
Analysis
At five o’clock in the evening when Sasha calls Karl, he is still at work. “Dad. I need you to come over here right now,” Sasha says. “I was on the bus and I got set on fire.” “What?” he asks in disbelief. When Debbie arrives, she thinks Sasha has “fallen in mud.” Sasha can’t tell the police anything about what happened—they had been asleep—but their legs are “skinless, exposed,” and it is forty-five minutes before an ambulance arrives. As Sasha is loaded into the ambulance with Karl (there’s only room for one), Debbie watches as they drive away. “They did it because he was wearing a skirt!” she cries.
Debbie thinks that Sasha has “fallen in mud” because their legs are blackened and charred from the fire, which further suggests the severity of Sasha’s injuries. Sasha’s legs are not only “skinless” and “exposed” because of their burns, they are exposed because their skirt has burnt up, leaving Sasha in their underwear. Furthermore, in the chaos of the fire, Debbie has forgotten to use Sasha’s preferred pronouns, and they must suffer this indignation as well.
Themes
Gender and Sexuality Theme Icon
Binary Thought and Inclusive Language Theme Icon
Discrimination and Social Justice Theme Icon