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A Piece Of Cake English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1479 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Crime is one of our society’s oldest social problems. According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, crime can be defined as an act committed in violation of a law prohibiting it, or omitted in violation of a law ordering it; often, specific, such an act of a serious nature, as a felony: crimes are variously punishable by death, imprisonment, or the imposition of certain fines or restrictions: the range of crime includes felonies and misdemeanors, but not petty violations such as not obeying a municipal ordinance as they are rarely considered to be part of the criminal law and usually results in fines. In the memoir, A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown, it tells the story of a young girl who committed several crimes which included such things as prostitution, possessing illegal drugs, robbing, stealing, dealing, and gang shootings. The list of acts considered crimes today is constantly changing. For example, at one time, if a person practiced witchcraft they were charged, but this is no longer illegal. Today, it is becoming a serious crime to pollute the environment. At one time pollution received little or no attention because it caused few problems. In colonial days in England it was not a crime for a person to steal money entrusted to them by an employer, but today this type of theft, defined as embezzlement, is a serious crime (Crime, 2007). Like most of the authors of gloomy memoirs, Cupcake Brown is also successful in turning her life of crime around.

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The book opens with a tear jerking scene, an eleven year old Cupcake waking to the booming music from her mother’s radio alarm clock playing Elton John singing about Philadelphia freedom. “Why didn’t Momma wake me?” Cupcake thought as she continued walking toward her room, thinking about what she would wear to her daddy’s house. She looked up and froze (Brown, 2006). She never forgot what she saw (Brown, 2006). The music was still very loud in the background when she noticed her Momma lying face down on her stomach. She thought maybe she was kidding as always so she expected her to jump up like a jack-in-the-box and scream, “Boo!” However, when she touched her mother’s arm she did not move so she soon realized her mother was dead. Every crime she commits and every terrible thing that later happened Cupcake traces back to this catastrophic loss. The only family she knew was her momma, her brother Larry (whom she did not get along with and was constantly trying to get rid of), her grandmother, Uncle Jr., and her daddy. One minute she was mourning the death of her momma, and the next Uncle Jr., Daddy, Larry, and Cupcake were sitting in front of a judge. The judge introduces the tall black man to her and Larry, “Children, this is Mr. Burns, your father” (Brown, 2006). The man she called Daddy (Mr. Long) who never paid child support or visited turned out not to be her biological father, so for that reason the judge gave Mr. Burns legal custody of Larry and Cupcake by the state of California (Brown, 2006). Her father, Mr. Brown, said that his house was not ready for them. He said that until he was ready, rather than take care of the kids he never wanted in the first place he sent them to live with a lady (Mrs. Diane Dobson) who ran a foster home in Lancaster. Cupcake never saw Mr. Burns again. Diane’s nephew, Pete, who was also living with Diane, repeatedly raped Cupcake for his own sick pleasure. Of course, due to the corruption of the “don’t see, don’t act” child welfare system never stepped in, leaving the eleven year old no choice but to run away and try to make it on your own.

So in the coming years, Cupcake life of crime begins. She would run away from the foster home several times, only to be taken back by the police, a worried neighbor, or a social worker. Cupcake became a child prostitute, after being schooled by another prostitute, Candy on how to turn tricks for money. At age eleven, she smoked marijuana, drank copious amounts of alcohol and sold and took drugs, from LSD and cocaine to crystal meth. By the time she turned thirteen, she was pregnant. When she was six months pregnant she was beaten by Diane’s daughter Connie and the rest of the foster girls living in the house at the time. Consequently she lost the baby she was carrying for a twenty-one year old man named Tim whom she had met at a party in Los Angeles. Cupcake’s life of crime began to take a turn for the worst. At age fourteen she ran away again to South Central Los Angeles to live with her great-aunt and four male distant cousins. She joined the notorious Eight-Tray Gangster Crips gang, which further encouraged her participation in criminal activities (robbing, stealing, dealing, drive-by shootings) and deepen her love and addiction to cocaine, PCP, crystal meth, LSD, and many other drugs. On Cupcake’s sixteenth birthday, she was shot twice in the back on the right side by the rival gang 60’s and was told she might not ever walk again (Brown, 2006). Incredibly, she recovered and was forced to go back to Lancaster to live with Diane again. After a few weeks, Cupcake got the itchin’ to run away again but decided not to repeat the same pattern of run, return, run, return. So she called Uncle Jr. to send money for a bus ticket to San Diego. When she arrived in San Diego she lived with her Daddy for a few weeks, enrolled in nearby Hoover High School. They wasted no time looking for an apartment to prepare Cupcake to become an acceptable candidate for emancipation. Cupcake got her first job as an “alarm monitor” since the position read “no experience necessary.” When court inspected her apartment, verified her employment, and confirmed that she was indeed working and taking care of herself as an adult the emancipation went through without a hitch.

It didn’t take long for her life to fall apart. Although Cupcake was making enough money her daily alcohol and drug escalated. The more Cupcake used the more she wanted. Cupcake soon quit her job and became a drug dealer that used drugs. Cupcake thought it was a good idea since she was a weed head anyway. It did not take long for her lucrative business as a drug dealer to fall apart as well. She was constantly digging in the “merchandise” for her own personal use. It did not take long for Cupcake to smoke more “merchandise” than she was selling. It was not long before Cupcake’s friend Sheila and manager Ken convince her to go to Mesa Vista Hospital which provided drug rehabilitation. He stated the hospital was so she could detox under medical supervision. During Cupcakes treatment she learned that alcoholism and addiction were diseases that are cunning, baffling, and powerful. She admitted it was too powerful for her to recover alone and enlisted the help of her unbelievably compassionate boss, family, friends, co-workers, counselors, and her new-and-improved self.

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The crimes that Cupcake committed can be classified in various ways. For example, her crimes against public order or morality like prostitution, use of marijuana, drug abuse, and public drunkenness are considered by many experts as a medical problem and that the offender should be given medical treatment instead of being sent to jail (Crime, 2007). While the crimes she committed against people such as robbing, drive-by shootings, and stealing should receive severe punishments such as a county jail or prison sentence. There is much debate and widespread disagreement about whether certain practices hurt society and should be considered crimes (Crime, 2007). So did Cupcakes use of marijuana, prostitution, and public drunkenness warrant and arrest? Although I consider the crimes she committed evil acts and should be regulated in the best interest of society the best course of action for a drug abuser is medical treatment. Cupcake Brown’s death of her momma, child abuse by her abusive foster mother in foster care, rape, drug abuse and addiction, miscarriage, gang banging, alcoholism, near-death experiences and homelessness, all during her tragic childhood contributed to her life of crime. All the failed attempts by her stepfather, Daddy, and her Uncle Jr. only perpetuated Cupcakes criminal behavior. She learned to survive by stealing, selling sex, gang banging, doing and every drug imaginable. It is a wonder that she was able to pull herself out of the depths of her addiction and become a lawyer without ever having graduated from high school. Through her recovery from drugs and alcohol addiction she learned to love herself for who she was, which helped her to maintain her sobriety, achieve her goals, and finally have the happy life she deserved.


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