Phoebe Prince Analysis In The Untold Story of What Really Happened to Phoebe Prince by Emily
Bazelon, who introduces herself as a bit of an expert on the Phoebe Prince case, attempts to shed a unique light on the trials of the teenagers accused of causing
Phoebe Prince to kill herself. The reader is introduced to the star of the football team who is making an announcement about cyberbullying. Bazelon then dramatically reveals the irony that the boy, who made this announcement to the entire school, is one of the kids accused of causing Phoebe to take her own life. Bazelon takes a different approach by revealing the drama from all of the students’ perspectives rather than just from Phoebe’s. Each accused teen is introduced one by one, each of them seemingly innocent with a strained connection to Phoebe. Bazelon turns the tables by blaming
Phoebe inadvertently for the uncomfortable and tense interactions between the students. Throughout the article Bazelon quietly attempts to persuade her reader to side with the accused, just as she has chosen to do. Overall, Emily Bazelon’s article about what really happened to Phoebe Prince is laced with quiet hints that Phoebe Prince brought the bullying, that led to her death, upon herself. Is it possible that the dead girl could be to blame?
Throughout the article about Phoebe Prince, the freshman from South Hadley
High School who committed suicide in 2010, there are many apparent patterns the author Emily Bazelon uses to tell the story. One of the first that the reader comes across, is the pattern in which the author introduces Sean Mulveyhill. Bazelon started off by using evidence to lead the reader to assume he is a morally strong kid who is against bullying. Then, just one line later, his name is mentioned with criminal charges for bullying. After twisting the reader’s opinion of Sean from good to bad, the reader’s opinion is then twisted again when the author starts questioning the authenticity of the story; “But what if that's wrong? What if Sean was in fact a strong kid who had looked out for weaker ones? What if there was no pack of untouchable mean girls ruling the
halls of South Hadley High…” This initial pattern of how Sean is presented to the reader is confusing at first but is used to create an unbiased opinion of the situation for the reader. It creates a choice for the reader to form their own opinions about the situation.
Another pattern that is shown in the article is not a literary device, but rather it is the repeated presence of Phoebe acting as the catalyst in her own constant predicament. Before Phoebe moved to the United States, she was having bully problems with other girls. The reason being, she was getting involved with older boys, and some other girls didn’t like her because of it. This same chain of events happened twice previously in Ireland and close to a third time in the few months Phoebe lived in
Massachusetts before her death. The author used this pattern to show how Phoebe was making enemies and obtaining bullies. “Social scientists generally define bullying as repeated acts of abuse that involve a power imbalance”(pg. 1). Phoebe was creating an imbalance of power by boosting herself in the hierarchy of her new social society, by connecting to boys with higher status according to the article.
A final pattern that is present is how the author introduced each of the bullies.
The two boys, Sean and Austin entered as nice guys, who were friendly to Phoebe. The only difference between the two of them was that Austin remained friendly, whereas
Sean became one of the bigger bullies. The main two girls entered in relatively the same fashion. When the author talked about Phoebe getting involved with Sean and
Austin, Kayla and Flannery were introduced as girlfriends to the to boys, Kayla with
Sean and Flannery with Austin. But, Austin and Flannery were much different than Sean and Kayla, “The