In 1999, Walter Dean Myers presented a wonderful drama novel, Monster, about one 16-year-old black boy, Steve Harmon, who was charged with felony murder. One of the most attractive features of this book is its structure and style of writing. The reader is captivated from the very beginning of the story, as it is so similar to the beginning of famous Star Wars.
Steve Harmon is the writer, director, and main character of Monster. Such a decision to present the story from one person’s point of view, divide characters into good and bad ones, appeal to the facts from one diary only, and use not a standard form of narration is unique indeed.
The style chosen by the author of this story takes several pages to get used to. However, such manner of writing influences Meyers’ development of the theme only in a positive way.
Monster is interesting to read because it provides the reader with a chance to create his/her own impression about the main character. The writer does not tell you what to think, but let you make decisions and conclusions independently. During the whole story, it is not mentioned whether the main character is good or bad.
It was pointed out that the character is surrounded by bad people, with bad guns, and bad intentions. Kathy O’Brien is Steve’s defense attorney, she does believe that Steve is guilty and tries to prepare him for the worst. “Both you and this King character are on trial for felony murder. Felony murder is as serious as it gets. Sandra Petrocelli is the prosecutor, and she’s good.
They’re pushing for the death penalty, which is really bad.” (Myers 12) Steve, as the author of this script, realizes that he is too young to be sentenced to death or spend about 20 years of his life in jail. He also understands that this case will be rather difficult to win because of two simple reasons: (1) even his attorney, O’Brien, finds him guilty, and (2) he is a young black man that makes him being concerned with numerous crimes and larcenies.
He tries to prove that he was just in the wrong place and certainly at the wrong time. (Jones 190) He cannot accept such a reality and makes a decision to do everything possible to evade this possible verdict. He even decides to escape if necessary, even it will cost him his life.
O’Brien’s decision to turn away from Steve after the verdict was announced makes all the readers think about why she did it. What, actually, made her turn away? Was it the right decision? Maybe, she saw something wrong that even made the screenwriter title this story as Monster.
Young adult literature is one of the most significant steps up, which allow to comprehend and analyze various themes from different perspectives. (Suen 41) Monster is the story about the importance of making choices in life, possible challenges, and consequences. This book is one of the most brilliant messages to young adults.
It underlines one simple truth that only a person, him/herself, is responsible for all choices he/she makes. The consequences of any choice will certainly affect both the life of the person, who makes a choice, and the lives of other people around. This is why it is crucially important to realize such significance and make wise and well-weight decisions.
Jones, D. Painless Reading Comprehension. Barron’s Educational Series, 2004.
Myers, W. D. Monster. HarperTemest, 2001.
Suen, A. Picture Writing. Writer’s Digest Books, 2003.
Thesis: The style chosen by the author of this story takes several pages to get used to. However, such manner of writing influences Meyers’ development of the theme only in a positive way.
This book is one of the most brilliant messages to young adults. It underlines one simple truth that only a person, him/herself, is responsible for all choices he/she makes.