In the novel Monster by Walter Dean Myers, how is Steve treated like he is less than human?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the novel, Myers examines how the judicial system treats young minorities as subhuman beings instead of unique individuals. At the beginning of the novel, the prosecuting attorney, Sandra Petrocelli, labels Steve Harmon a "monster." From the start of the trial Steve is viewed as less than human. Throughout the majority of the trial, Steve is voiceless and unaware of what is going on. He is essentially treated as an absent participant whose fate lays in the hands of the attorneys and jurors. Whenever Steve is not in the courtroom, he is locked behind bars inside a jail. Steve describes his violent, dangerous environment as a place where inmates continually attempt to harm one another at all hours of the day. Steve fears for his life and is forced to act like he is a callous, threatening individual in order to survive. Steve's experience in prison also makes him feel like he is less than human.