Monster Critical Essay

1435 Words Dec 19th, 2010 6 Pages
Have you ever been on trial for a murder you didn’t commit, and risked the rest of your life being spent in jail? Probably not, but in the book "Monster" that is the case for Steve Harmon, a poor African-American in rundown Harlem in the book "Monster" by Walter Dean Myers, which is a fascinating piece of Young adult literature. The story is told from Steve’s perspective in a movie format. It does this as it seems to be like a movie in his mind that follows his life in jail and in the courtroom. The search for truth is the most important and overriding theme in this story.
The first use of the search for truth in Walter Dean Myers' book is how Steve is searching for the truth within himself. Early in the novel Steve is sitting in prison
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He needs to do this because all of these people are coming on the stand calling him an accessory to the murder, the prosecutor is calling him a monster, and the inmates tell him if he did the crime he must do the time. This leads Steve to write in his journal to keep telling himself over and over that he is not a bad person; he just wonders what he did to deserve this punishment. This topic helps to tie Steve back into searching for the truth when everyone else seems to want to lie to get him convicted of a crime he didn’t commit in order for them to avoid going to prison. While Steve is searching for the truth of what happened in himself he is contributing to the overriding sense of searching for truth that is throughout the book.
Secondly, the search for truth becomes evident when people are looking for the truth from witnesses. All of the lawyers, both prosecutor and defense, talk to Mrs. Henry on the stand as she is the only witness that saw the robbery take place. She pinpoints King’s photo and picks him in a line up, but she never saw Steve so the truth seems to come out further as the only witness who has nothing to gain from lying states she never saw him. Part of the questioning can be seen here in the quote from the trial Briggs: “Mrs. Henry did you have occasion to see some photographs of Mr. King” Henry “Yes I did see him at the station” (Pg.165,Monster). This helps to show the way the lawyers are trying to…

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