by Walter Dean Myers
There are several themes throughout this story. Introspection, Steve must come to terms with his own identity. He accomplishes this throughout the novel in his journal entries which he makes during his time in jail awaiting trial. Peer Pressure, This theme is the basis for how he ended up in his current situation. Had he not given into the peer pressure by James King he wouldn’t have been involved with the robbery that led to the death of the store clerk. Humanity, Steve is called a "monster" by the Prosecutor at the beginning of the novel and Steve grapples with the question of whether or not he is monstrous for his actions in the robbery. He is constantly reflecting upon this in his journal entries. The word can also be found scribbled faintly and scratched out on pages of the novel itself.
Sixteen-year-old Steve is on trial for murder. But he's having trouble understanding why. "What did I do? I walked into a drugstore to look for some mints, and then I walked out. What was wrong with that? I didn't kill Mr. Nesbitt"(p. 140). Nothing is wrong with that, of course--unless the purpose of that casual trip was to give the "all clear" for a robbery that ended in the murder of the store's owner. Then, something is very wrong. Like his character, Walter Dean Myers grew up in New York. As a young man, he struggled with a speech impediment that caused many of his classmates and teachers to ridicule him and think him unintelligent. Myers often got into trouble at school and on the streets when trying to defend himself against the ridicule, causing many to label him a “Monster” (hence the name of his memoir), much like Steve Harmon was labeled a "monster." Later, while working as a construction worker, Myers decided to follow advice given to him by his high school writing teacher and began writing at night after work, just as the character Steve Harmon writes throughout the novel.
By structuring the book as a movie script being...