In Frank Conroy’s memoir, Stop-Time, he encounters many situations throughout his childhood that allow him to mature and gain knowledge of the world he lives in. As Frank grows older, he understands fear, hatred, and unfairness. He first encounters corruption when a police officer approaches him and Jean on the streets of New York and accepts a bribe from Jean. As Frank watches the police officer casually leave after taking the bribe, he feels disillusionment towards the police officer. By passively observing the officer, rather than aggressively interfering in the situation, Frank matures. Frank’s encounter with the police officer allows him to comprehend that anyone, regardless their level of authority, is capable of setting their morals aside and cheating. Frank and Jean meet with an Italian who shows them how to bribe the cop in order to avoid a citation. In this scene the phrase “son of a bitch” is used ambiguously, since it is hard to tell who might of said this (133). By not specifying who said the phrase “son of a bitch,” it leads to the assumption that that either Frank or the Italian or both, are expressing their anger towards the police officer. Frank and the Italian feel resignation towards the police officer. The police officer abuses his power of authority; he possesses the power to control many of the fruit vendors by forcing them to pay a small fine. The police officer is playing a game with all the fruit vendors in which only he is victorious. The ambiguity of this phrase can also stand as a representation of all the fruit vendors, they all feel that they have lost to the cop’s game and end up giving him what he wants.
As the police officer approaches Jean and Frank’s fruit stand, Jean orders Frank not to watch the cop. However Frank’s curiosity takes over and he ignores Jean and waits to see whether or not the cop accepts the bribe. Frank describes the cop’s actions and attitude as calm. The police officer was “slapping...
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