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The Sin Bin or Lucy's Heart

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The Sin Bin or Lucy’s Heart

Life is like a jungle, it’s full of crossroads and decisions to be made. During your teenage years life gets even more entangled. In this essay I want to find out why teenagers often stand in the situation where they have to choose between their heart or making a riot.
“The Sin Bin or Lucy’s Heart” is a short story by Lucy Cross in 2000. It is first-person narrator and the story are seen from the main character’s point of view. The story takes place in a school greenhouse used as a detention room, supposedly located in Cardiff. The story is chronological but has a short flashbacks, about the episode with Penny Jones; « Poor Penny Jones. You should have seen her face when I asked her to meet me down the subway after school. I could feel Bethan behind me, checking I didn’t jib... » P. 8 line 3-5. The text is spread over about an hour or more, depending on how long school detention is. The main character is Lucy, a teenage girl and former grade A student, and now, her first time in detention given the question from her teacher; « What on earth are you doing in here Lucy? » P. 8 line 16. She has been influenced badly by her new friend Bethan, a though girl who cuts classes, smokes and swear. Lucy was a rule follower before she got to know of Bethan. She did her homework with perfection, had good manners and behaved as it was expected of her from her mother and school. What Lucy deals with is extremely common at any ordinary young teenager trying to find her place in society. She wants to make a riot and break free from the good girl, and that is what Bethan helps her with. While being in detention the teacher supervising the detention asks her what she has done. She tells him that she hit Penny Jones, her former friend. The teacher seems shocked and asks if it is because of Bethan, and Lucy denies but of course it is. She knows and acknowledges that the things she has done with Bethan is not very smart, and that Bethan might be a bad influence, whilst she is also being a little scared of her; « Sometimes when I think about Bethan I get this burning pressing in my head and my tummy. Sometimes I’m glad when my mum says I can’t go round and see her » P. 7 line 13-15.
Bethan has no respect for authorities and sees no substance in the daily life which is boring her. She has a tough outer appearance and shows this by not caring for anybody or anything, and always doing crazy things while testing her limits. Behan’s behavior and lack of respect makes it look like she has a hard time at home since she is always out with her friends. She has a fear for appearing weak.
Both Lucy and Bethan use each other. Lucy so she can get popular and break free from the norms and expectations, and Bethan uses Lucy to feel superior and have someone under her. Neither of them are interested in a real and true friendship, and it is all highly superficial and shallow.
The language is deeply realistic and detailed, which makes it sensuous i.e. you feel everything the writer wanted you to feel for example understanding, angry or entertained. If you pay attention, you will notice that the writer and main character share the same first name, which partly explains why the language is so realistic and sensuous. The short story could be an autobiography, reflecting on the writer’s hard time growing up from teenager to adult.
The title of the story shows what dilemma Lucy is in. She either has to choose the Sin Bin, being the path with Bethan as a bully and a rebel, not caring about anything anymore except who to bully next or her heart, and going back to be a grade A student, take responsible and go home to her mother who is trying to influence Lucy to make the right choices but then have to say good bye to being a rebel and breaking free from her normal life.
We do not only hear about the heart in the main title but in detention Lucy is also drawing a heart, her heart. The heart on the paper is kind of imperfect; « My heart is rubbish. I push much too hard on the paper for some bits and then back right off for others. It’s a mess of really dark and really light. » P. 8 line 1-3. The quote is a metaphor for her old innocence being ruined because of her new behavior. She is confused however she is dark or light in her mind, and she is confused what side she has to choose. While sitting in detention, looking outside she comes to a decision and when class is over, and she has to show the teacher what she used her time on, he ask her whether she wants to keep the drawing of the heart or not – she says no. « “Do you want this for your portfolio, Lucy?” he asks. “It’s very good.” The boys are walking off and Bethan’s coming towards the door to collect me. “No, just chuck it.” » P. 9 line 33-36. By saying no, she indicates that she chooses to walk beside Bethan and chooses the Sin Bin instead of the heart. Some of the main themes are the urge to fit in, bullying, changing, identity and rebel/riot. This story reaches out to all teenagers who has not found your identity yet and is in the dilemma of choosing the right path. The message in this story is therefore to remember that every decision you make in life, especially in your teen years have big consequences on your life ahead and carrier. Another thing is also that if you are in need of guidance seek help and advice from elders. They often have another vision on life and can guide you from a more neutral standpoint. My conclusion on my thesis-statement is that teenagers feel the need of rebelling because they feel they can not stay the same and therefore make a decision to do something about it. They do it to make their identity and so they can be remembered of something important and not just as the nerd in school or the good girl, always doing what she is told to do.…...

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