entrance, my heart began to race. I just had to get out of that store. Only a few

more yards to go and I’d be safe. As we crossed the threshold, I heaved a sigh of

relief. I was home free. I thought about how sly I had been and I felt proud of my


An unexpected tap on my shoulder startled me. I whirled around to find a middle-aged

man, dressed in street clothes, flashing some type of badge and politely asking me to empty

my pockets. Where did this man come from? How did he know? I was so sure that no one

had seen me! On the verge of panicking, I told myself that all I had to do was give this man

his button back, say I was sorry, and go on my way. After all, it was only a 75-cent item.

Next thing I knew, he was talking about calling the police and having me arrested

and thrown in jail, as if he had just nabbed a professional thief instead of a terrified

kid. I couldn’t believe what he was saying.

“Jean, what’s going on?”

The sound of my sister’s voice eased the pressure a bit. She always managed to get

me out of trouble. She would come through this time too.

“Excuse me. Are you a relative of this young girl?”

“Yes, I’m her sister. What’s the problem?”

“Well, I just caught her shoplifting and I’m afraid I’ll have to call the police.”

“What did she take?”

“This button.”

“A button? You are having a thirteen-year-old arrested for stealing a button?”

“I’m sorry, but she broke the law.”

The man led us through the store and into an office, where we waited for the

police officers to arrive. Susan had found my grandmother and brother, who, still

shocked, didn’t say a word. The thought of going to jail terrified me, not because of jail

itself, but because of the encounter with my parents afterward. Not more than ten min-

utes later, two officers arrived and placed me under arrest. They said that I was to

be taken to the station alone. Then, they handcuffed me and led me out of the store.

I felt alone and scared. I had counted on my sister being with me, but now I had to

muster up the courage to face this ordeal all by myself.

As the officers led me through the mall, I sensed a hundred pairs of eyes staring

at me. My face flushed and I broke out in a sweat. Now everyone knew I was a criminal.

In their eyes I was a juvenile delinquent, and thank God the cops were getting me off

the streets. The worst part was thinking my grandmother might be having the same

from her remembered thoughts in pars. 5–8?

How does your understanding of Brandt deepen or change through what she writes in pars. 16–18?


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