What is O'Brien's reaction when Steve opens his arms to give her a hug?

In Monster, O'Brien's reaction when Steve opens his arms to give her a hug is to stiffen and turn away. O'Brien views him with fear and contempt when he attempts to give her a hug. She sees him as a monster who has gotten away with murder, and she is appalled to be in his presence.

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Towards the end of the story, the final verdict is read and James King is found guilty of felony murder but Steve Harmon is acquitted. When Steve is found not guilty, he turns towards Kathy O'Brien and opens his arms to give her a hug. Instead of accepting Steve's hug,...

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Towards the end of the story, the final verdict is read and James King is found guilty of felony murder but Steve Harmon is acquitted. When Steve is found not guilty, he turns towards Kathy O'Brien and opens his arms to give her a hug. Instead of accepting Steve's hug, O'Brien stiffens and turns away from him. O'Brien is described as "tense" and "pensive" as she quickly collects her papers. O'Brien's reaction following the victory suggests that she knows Steve Harmon was involved in the robbery and views him as a monster, which is exactly how Petrocelli described him and the other criminals involved in the robbery and murder.

O'Brien recognizes that Steve is struggling with his conscience and knows that he was in the drugstore on the day of the robbery. She even encouraged him to lie on the witness by saying that he was out filming for his upcoming project on the day of the robbery. O'Brien knows that Steve is guilty, which is why she views with disgust and rejects his hug.

O'Brien's reaction continues to haunt Steve months after the trial. Following Steve's harrowing experience, he spends a significant amount of time filming himself from various angles and examining his soul. In Steve's final journal entry, he writes that he is willing to study himself for a thousand times until he discovers the one true image. He then asks himself what O'Brien saw in him that made her turn away. The reader recognizes that O'Brien saw a "monster" standing before her when Steve attempted to give her a hug.

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