An Innocent Boy
In Walter Dean Myer’s novel Monster, a young, black 16 year-old, Steve Harmon is on trial for participating in a robbery and murder. Steve is innocent. Why? Ms. Petrocelli describes him as a monster. Why? She sees a young, black teenager. She stereotypes Steve. She assumes that he would commit the crime by his association with Bobo and James. To her he seems ready to confess. However, I see that Steve plays no part in the crime. He is not a “monster.” One reason I believe that Steve is not guilty is that the two witnesses who accuse him of being the lookout are testifying in order to receive reduced sentences. The first star witness is “Osvaldo Cruz, member of the Diablos as the Tough Guy Wannabe” (18). The second witness is Richard “Bobo” Evans, who has been in jail for selling drugs. When Osvaldo is “in trouble, he would do pretty much anything to get of trouble”(139). The prosecution, Ms. Petrocelli says, “Mr. Cruz is testifying against people he knows because he is getting a deal from the government”(136). Also, Ms. Petrocelli gets Bobo to admit the deal for his testimony saying, “If I tell what happened, the truth, then I can cop a plea to a lesser charge and pull 10 to 15”(237). Another reason that I believe in Steve’s innocence is the fact that these two witnesses are not credible; Osvaldo is a liar and Bobo is a criminal. In fear, Osvaldo states that Bobo said, “If I didn’t help him, he’d cut me up and get my moms, too” (115). Throughout his testimony, Osvaldo claims that he participated because Bobo threatened to harm him. Osvaldo doesn’t seem like someone who would be afraid of anyone. In an earlier scene he was picking on Steve calling him a “faggot” (112). Ms. O’Brien, Steve’s defense attorney gets Osvaldo to admit that he is a part of a gang, the Diablos, and that he has to fight “a guy who’s already in the club to show you got the heart”(145). Another initiation into the gang is to “cut them where it shows”(146). This means...
Cited: Myers, Walter Dean, and Christopher Myers. Monster. New York, NY: HarperCollins,
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