In the book Monster by Walter Dean Myers, can you tell me how it relates to real life?

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clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I like that the above answer focuses on the courtroom.

I was going to suggest that while Steve's story might not relate directly to your experience, it actually is not far from the experience of many American teenagers.  It might surprise you to know just how many high school kids face Steve's predicament because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It is astounding.  The same is true in circumstances of simply hanging out with the "wrong" people.  Guilt by association is a sad fact of life for many teenagers.

I think the fact that it is written from Steve's point of view gives it relevance to real life as well.  The few journal exerpts are emotional and honest.  Despite the fact that the book is fiction - it is hard to deny that these emotions couldn't be real for someone.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

"Monster" can relate to real life in a variety of ways. The most elemental of which is whether or not Stevie actually "did it." We really don't know if he is guilty or innocent of what happened that night. We are so overwhelmed with what the prosecutor says and then Stevie's own defense that we are unable to fully ascertain whatever "the truth" is. I think that this relates to real life because there are many moments where objectivity is sorely needed but is totally denied. There is no transcendent vision here. We are locked in by our own subjectivity and this is no exception to that. Along those lines, the question of whether or not our justice system makes errors is another element present. The prosecutor's case is very convincing and if Stevie is innocent, then it becomes scary to recognize to what extent prosecutions can go in proving a case that might not be true. There are many instances, sad moments, where the prosecution was wrong, but ended up obtaining a conviction. The justice system needs to be infallible in its ruling, and there are moments when it isn't. An implication of the work would be along these lines, in that what happens if the justice system makes mistakes? The individuals that end up suffering the most are the ones who lack any significant resources of their own, precisely the people that the system must protect and must defend because no one else will.

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