What happens in the end of the book Monster?

At the end of Monster, Steve is acquitted, but his co-defendant, James King, has been sentenced to twenty-five years to life. Five months after the verdict, Steve is committed to making movies because he wants to know the truth about himself.

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In Walter Dean Myers's Monster, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial on a felony murder charge for his role in a drugstore robbery gone wrong. The prosecutor portrays Steve as a monster, and he struggles mightily with that label, for he has always considered himself a good person deep down. The book presents Steve's experiences through his own eyes in the form of his personal journal and a screenplay that he composes about his trial.

At the end of the trial, Steve is acquitted. Even though he might have served as a lookout of sorts for the men who robbed the drugstore and shot its owner, Steve did no more than scan the place for cops beforehand. At least, that is what Steve's account suggests. The level of his involvement is left open. He is certainly not guilty of murder in any legal sense, and the jury recognizes that.

Steve, however, cannot get over the label of “monster.” After the “not guilty” verdict, Steve turns to his defense attorney, Kathy O'Brien, with his arms open for a hug. He is so relieved at not having to go to prison that he wants to reach out to thank her for helping the jury see that he is a human being who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. O'Brien, however, turns away from Steve, and he realizes that deep down, she, too, must think that he is a monster.

The last pages of the book return to Steve's journal and are written five months after the trial. The murderers are in jail, and Steve is free. Yet part of him is not free, for he still struggles to figure out who he is and whether he really is a monster. He films himself a lot, trying to see into his own depths. He experiments with different clothes and voices. He knows that his mother is grateful that he is not in jail, but he feels that the distance between him and his father has grown bigger. Steve thinks that his father is no longer sure who his son actually is, but Steve may be projecting his own insecurity in this.

The book ends with a question. Steve remembers how O'Brien turned away from him after the verdict, and he wonders, “What did she see?”

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The plot of Monster by Walter Dean Meyers centers arounds the murder trial of protagonist Steve Harmon. There are, in some ways, two trials; while the jury tries to decide if Steve is innocent, he ponders the same question internally, trying to sort through the muddled events of the night in question to determine whether or not he is a "monster."

In the end of the novel, Steve takes the witness stand and makes a convincing case for his innocence. He describes how he only had a casual acquaintance with the other two teenagers charged and provides a plausible reason as to why he was at the scene of the crime on the day in question. At the behest of his lawyer, Kathy O'Brien, he relates how his time in prison has created feelings of guilt within him despite his innocence.

The jury acquits Steve; however, they do imply that his actions at the crime scene may have played a role in the victim's death. As a result, Steve's internal jury remains in deliberation. O'Brien stops talking to him after the trial, giving Steve the impression that she thinks that he is guilty and was just doing her job to save him from prison. As Steve goes through this internal turmoil, the reader is left with the impression that avoiding prison will not save him from the damage inflicted upon his self-esteem.

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After a long, grueling trial, Steve Harmon is finally acquitted of murder. For a while, it seemed touch and go as to whether this would be the outcome, but evidently the jury believed that there was more than an element of reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case. Thus, they voted to acquit Steve.

The same cannot be said of Steve's co-defendant, James King. He's sentenced to twenty-five years to life for his involvement in the murder. The courtroom drama is heightened further, in true Hollywood style, when Steve's defense attorney, Kathy O'Brien, turns away from him when he attempts to hug her. This gives the impression that, despite his being acquitted, she thinks that her client is guilty.

Although the story stops there, Steve continues to see his life in cinematic terms and is now making films. Steve does so primarily because he wants to know who he is and what the truth is. This adds a further layer of ambiguity to Steve's already complex character.

As we reach the end of Monster, we still don't know the identity of the real Steve Harmon, not least because he doesn't seem to know it himself. Man or monster, murderer or just plain misunderstood, we simply cannot tell.

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At the end of the novel Monster, by Walter Dean Myers, many different things happen.  A guard tells both King and Steve that a verdict is awaiting them.  They enter into the courtroom.  O'Brien, Steve's lawyer, asks him if he is okay and he says, "NO".  The judge calls to see if the defense and prosecution are ready and both state they are.  The jury is then called in.

It is here, in the text, where it returns to the scrolling words repeating the opening of the novel:

This is the true story of Steve Harmon.  This is the story of his life and his trial.

The judge reads the verdicts. The verdicts are not stated outright in the text.

Two guards begin to put handcuffs on James King as color changes to black and white.  It is clear that the jury has found him guilty.

The text then describes a "Cut to" to Steve's mother.  His mother is lifting her hands high and closing her eyes.  It is here where readers can assume that Steve has been found innocent.

After the verdict has been read, Steve moves closer to his attorney (O'Brien) to hug her.  She moves away from him.

The novel ends with Steve's thoughts five months after the trial.  King has been sentenced to 25 years to life, Bobo is still in jail, and Osvaldo has recently been arrested for stealing a car.  Steve admits that his mother does not understand him and that his father has moved away.  Steve gives the reasoning behind still filming:

I want to know who I am. I want to look at myself a thousand times to look for the one true image.

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