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A Crime In The Neighbourhood Essay

1237 words - 5 pages

It was the summer of 1972 when Spring Hill, a Washington, D.C., suburb, got its first tasteof an increasingly violent, insecure modern world. The quiet residential area, whose inhabitantstraditionally left their doors unlocked and spent the summers attending one another's cookout, wasrocked by the news that 12-year-old Boyd Ellison had been raped and murdered, his body dumpedbehind the local mall. While shaken residents organized a neighborhood watch program and clueddetectives in on anyone's suspicious behavior, the inhabitants of at least one house were distractedby a tragedy of their own: 10-year-old Marsha Eberhardt's father, Larry, had run off with hissister-in-law, leaving his wife and three children to manage on their own. Marsha, stunned by herfather's abandonment and having broken her ankle, spends the summer witnessing her mother'sdesperate attempts to cope, the neighborhood's paranoid response to the murder and even thecountry's disorientation over the unfolding Watergate scandal. The tension proves too great whenthe Eberhardts' shy bachelor neighbor, Mr. Green, takes interest in Marsha's mother. Thoughmurder is the most visible crime in Marsha's neighborhood, it is by no means the only one,Marsha's father and aunt run off together and Marsha wrongly accusses Mr. Green for the deathof Boyd Ellison.Marsha's father had left before the summer Boyd Ellison was killed. The divorce had atremendous impact on the whole family. Marsha's twin brother and sister spent the summer awayon vacation and since Marsha had her ankle in a cast, she wasn't able to do things most kids didduring the summer vacation like swimming. Marsha remembered "it was only after my father leftand Boyd Ellison was killed that I started to wonder to myself what might happen next."(35)Since Marsha had so much time on her hands during the summer of '72, she seemed to fill thetime with investigating who could have killed Boyd Ellison. She kept a journal of her thoughts andeven goes so far as to keeping track of Mr. Green's daily routines. It could be that Marsha neededto get her mind off of her parents divorce, and the murder of Boyd Ellison did exactly that.Marsha was extremely curious of her neighbor, Mr. Green, because he was a bachelorliving in a neighborhood full of nuclear families. Mr. Green didn't fit in with everyone elsebecause he was generally withdrawn and socially awkward. Shortly after Boyd Ellison's death hethrew a barbecue for the whole neighborhood but no one showed except Marsha's mother, Lois.Lois felt sorry for Mr. Green because no one had shown up for his barbecue, so she decided to goover and join him. Marsha didn't like the idea of her mother flirting with another man besides herfather. Marsha's mother would make a point of waving to Mr. Green if she happened to be in theyard just to be neighborly. They would also exchange gardening advice since Mr. Green kept hisyard immaculate. Marsha, like most kids whose parents get divorced, didn't like the idea...

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