Monster Book Report

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In Monster, by Walter Dean Myers, the reader learns from Steve Harmon’s experiences that sometimes guilt or innocence of a person might not be determined by solid evidence but by onlooker’s opinions and interpretation of the crime. There is not a large amount of scientific evidence in the case against Steve Harmon, so the jury must rely on Steve’s background information, their opinions of guilt and innocence, and the testimonies of the witnesses who are mostly criminals. From Steve’s trial, the reader learns that a persons guilt or innocence is often determined by their status in life, even by coincidence. In a journal one of Steves entries he ponders, “What did I do? Anybody can walk into a drugstore and look around. Is that what I’m on trial for? I didn’t do nothing! I didn’t do nothing! But everybody is just messed up with the pain. I didn’t fight with Mr. Nesbitt. I didn’t take any money from him” [Myers 115]. This quote shows that Steve believes he is innocent and that it was a mere coincidence that he was in the store just before the robbery. Steve Harmon lives in the same neighborhood as “Bobo” Evans, James King and Osvaldo Cruz and he is acquainted with all three men. The fact that Steve was in the store and knew all the people involved in the crime leads the jury to believe that he was a part of the crime. Steve’s innocence or guilt will be partly determined because of these things. The testimonies during the trial will also affect the jury’s verdict of guilt or innocence. Mrs. Henry’s testimony showed Harmon‘s innocence. When she was called to the stand, Petrocelli questioned Henry about what she had witnessed. Mrs. Henry stated, “I saw two young men engaged in an argument. Then I saw one of them grab the drugstore owner by the collar” [Myers 163]. This tells the jury that either Steve is an extremely bad look out or that it was a coincidence and he was set up. This testimony could lead the jury to believe that Steve could be innocent or that...
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