The 57 Bus

The 57 Bus


Dashka Slater

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

The 57 Bus: Part 4: Department 11 Summary & Analysis

Slater explains the sign that hangs on the wall in Department 11, a courtroom in Alameda County, that is “a way station” where “you pass through on your way to someplace else.” This court puts a case “on the calendar for the first hearing.” It is more of a “clearinghouse,” and according to the sign, there is no cell phones or pagers, and “no food, drinks, or gum.” There is “no talking or loitering in the vestibule,” and “no communication with inmates.”
Again, Slater’s use of the word “you” has the effect of making the reader feel as if they are moving through Department 11, and this leads to increased empathy for Richard’s situation. Department 11 doesn’t serve a purpose other than to funnel inmates to a different court, a step that could be eliminated with restorative justice.
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