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 4: Opportunity Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Slater cites the “Youth Rights Handbook distributed by the Division of Juvenile Justice.” The book says that “feelings of anxiety or fear” are normal when first arriving at Chad, but they “would like to see you successfully complete your stay and end your involvement with the criminal justice system.” While in the facility, the handbook says, “You have the right…/ To be provided with the basic things you need to live and stay healthy.” These things include, among others, food, sleep, and exercise.
Again, Slater’s inclusion of the Youth Rights Handbook and her use of the word “you” has the effect of giving the reader the vicarious experience of actually being booked into Chad correctional facility. In this way, the reader is better able to empathize with Richard and his experiences in the criminal justice system.
Themes
Discrimination and Social Justice Theme Icon
However, you only have a right to “the basics,” the handbook says, and if you want special clothing, snacks, or makeup, you have to buy those items at the “canteen.” Any items such as cigarettes, drugs, or phones, are considered “contraband,” and lastly, “you have a right… / TO BE SEARCHED IN A WAY THAT IS THE LEAST EMBARRASING TO YOU.”
This reminds inmates that even though they are in a juvenile facility, they are still in prison. Inmates are afforded little rights, and arguably, being searched in any sort of way is embarrassing. The treatment of juveniles in correctional facilities has a lasting effect, and the fact that this is Richard’s second time in the system is a testament to that.
Themes
Adolescent Crime vs. Adult Crime Theme Icon
Accountability, Redemption, and Forgiveness Theme Icon