"Mr.Hampton has made it clear to me that he believes not in retribution but in redemption."
The novel The Seventh Most Important Thing and the poem "Redemption" display the controversy that redemption through community service helps juvenile delinquents control their anger and correct their ways. This controversy is presented in many young trouble maker's lives.
The Start of The Controversy
The controversy in the novel The Seventh Most Important Thing began when Arthur T. Owens threw a brick at old Mr. Hampton and broke his arm on a "bitter November day"(Pearall1). He went to Juvenile court for his deed. Arthur later explained to the juvenile judge Warner that he was upset because Mr. Hampton took his recently dead dad's, favorite motorcycle cap that his mom threw out. This anger can cause many more juveniles to be corrupt in their thoughts and actions. According to the article The Redemption of Artis Monroe, Artis Monroe was young when he went to San Quentin, California's oldest prison. "I didn't learn anything" he said. He later "got out, grew up and cleaned up his act." When his mother died however "he got angry and fell back in trouble."(Kim2) The anger Artis Monroe had when his mother died is the same anger that made Arthur throw the brick. Also in the poem Redemption, the following verses 7-8 "And when people pushed my nerves the anger inside would take control of me,"explain and relate to Arthur and Artis because the anger that they had took control of their bodies and they couldn't go back on what the were going to do. This proves that anger doesn't get resolved in jail or Juvie. In the novel The Seventh Most Important Thing, with that anger, Arthur then chased down old Mr. Hampton and threw the brick.
The Redemption Sentence
Judge Warner didn't care and was ready to sentence Arthur to juvie but Mr. Hampton talked to him over the court lunch break. The judge then proclaimed that Mr. Hampton was interested in "not retribution, but redemption"(Pearall20). Mr. Hampton wanted to give Arthur a second chance. Judge Warner then sentenced Arthur to work for Mr. Hampton. In the article The Redemption of Artis Monroe, Artis didn't learn anything in his jail time. "Out here, in the shed, he says he has time to think about that." Artis fixes bikes in prison but for him it doesn't feel like prison."This is an opportunity for redemption," Artis says(Kim2). In the novel Arthur thinks about throwing the brick in juvie and when he goes home. He then changes and gets rid of his anger when working for Mr. Hampton just like how Artis Monroe gets rid of his anger and thinks about what he did to get into jail. Also Arthur didn't learn anything in Juvie just like Artis Monroe. The following verses from the poem Redemption"This year I joined wrestling to help, transferring my rage into something healthy" show that the narrator to get over his anger wrestled competitively instead of hurting people physically just like how Arthur got rid of his anger when working for Mr. Hampton. This shows that jail time unlike redemption does not help inmates most of the time but redemption through community service or other activities gives lawbreakers and Juvenile delinquents time to think over their ways.
Back to the novel, The Seventh Most Important Thing, as part of his redemption sentence Arthur goes to the garage that the court address led him to Mr. Hampton's garage although he was never there. Mr. Hampton leaves a list of seven things,what he calls the seven most important things. Every time Arthur comes it's the same old list. Eventually Arthur comes and hears something inside the garage. He takes a look and finds a dazzling sight. Half the garage is covered with a "shimmering shine"(pearall124). He then finds Mr. Hampton on the floor and takes him to the hospital. At the hospital he calls his parole officer, Officer Billie. Officer Billie explains to him that Mr. Hampton has cancer and is dying. After his father's death he, with tears in his eyes, says he can't and won't work for a dying person. "Tell someones else to do it." he exclaims.
The Ending To The Controversy
In the novel, The Seventh Most Important Thing, after Arthur quits on his redemption sentence he goes with his new friend Reginald to Mr. Hampton's garage because leaving Mr. Hampton's project makes Arthur feel guilty. They enter the garage to find Mr. Hampton inside looking in perfect health. Mr. Hampton calls his project with shimmering shine, The Throne of The Third Heaven. Because Mr. Hampton is fine, Arthur goes home after working and calls Officer Billie and tells her that he doesn't quit. According to Artis in the article The Redemption of Artis Monroe, "Times change, we change"(Kim3) This quote from Artis Monroe shows that when times change and everything is different, we must change and adapt to the situation. It is like Arthur because he didn't want to work for Mr. Hampton when he found out that he was dying. He again changed when he saw Mr. Hampton healthy and working in the garage. He wanted to work for him again. After that meeting Arthur worked only once more for him before Mr. Hampton was dead. To preserve his artwork/project from the landlord Arthur and his family sent the project to a museum. The museum couldn't have space for seven years.
Seven years later Arthur runs into Judge Warner at the opening of Mr. Hampton's artwork exhibit. After Arthur cuts the ribbon to open the exhibit, Judge Warner whispers in his ear,"From brick throwing to ribbon cutting,"[...] "Now that's what I call redemption"(Pearall270). When Judge Warner whispers this into Arthur's ear, he refers to how Arthur changed his ways since throwing that brick and now is cutting a ribbon to pen an important exhibit. He is referring to how far Arthur has gone and changed his ways.
The Preliminary evidence above proves that redemption through community service helps juvenile delinquents control their anger and correct their ways.
Pearsall, Shelley. The Seventh Most Important Thing. Random House Childrens Books, 2015.
CROSS, KIM. “The Redemption of Artis Monroe.” Bicycling, vol. 59, no. 5, June 2018, pp. 26–