What roles do Steve's parents play in his life before, during, and after the trial? What characterizes his relationship with his parents? What responsibility do they have for him getting in trouble (if any), and what are the ways in which they tried to help him get out of trouble?

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Throughout the novel, Steve’s parents play a critical role, even if not always obvious. While most of Steve’s flashbacks to before the trial do not concern his parents, from other context clues the reader can surmise that prior to the trial, Mr. and Mrs. Harmon provided a stable, loving, and...

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Throughout the novel, Steve’s parents play a critical role, even if not always obvious. While most of Steve’s flashbacks to before the trial do not concern his parents, from other context clues the reader can surmise that prior to the trial, Mr. and Mrs. Harmon provided a stable, loving, and somewhat religious home. After Steve’s arrest, his mother is heartbroken, which prevents her from visiting Steve right away. During the trial, Mrs. Harmon visits Steve often, saying to him, "No matter what anybody says, I know you're innocent, and I love you very much" (Saturday, July 11th entry). Moreover, she leaves clean clothes for him to wear to court, along with giving him highlighted bible passages. After the trial, Mrs. Harmon is relieved her son is home, even if she does not completely understand his compulsion to make movies of himself. Indeed, it is evident Steve’s mother believes in his innocence and will unfailingly support him.

Conversely, Steve’s father views him with doubt. Although he visits Steve in prison, Steve senses his father is unsure of his innocence. In one conversation, Mr. Harmon confesses to Steve, "never thought of seeing you—you know—seeing you in a place like this. It just never came to me that you'd ever be in any kind of trouble” (p. 111–112). Subsequently, Steve writes that he feels as though his father sees him as a monster, and that breaks Steve’s heart. Following the trial, Mr. Harmon moves away from his family, which leaves Steve questioning himself and his father.

Walter Dean Myers does not explicitly write regarding Mr. and Mrs. Harmon’s responsibility for Steve’s troubles. It is left to each reader to form an opinion or conclusion about his parents’ role. Steve’s parents aid him in getting out of trouble through their physical and emotional support, including visiting him in prison.

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Steve's parents are both supportive throughout the novel. Myers does not go into great detail about Steve's relationship with his parents before the trial, but their support during the trial suggests that they are close and care about their son. They regularly visit Steve while he is in jail, and Steve's mother attempts to comfort him. Steve's father supports him but cannot come to terms with his son's situation. Steve's father mentions that he imagined his son attending Morehouse and playing football. After the trial, Steve's father moves away and distances himself from Steve and his family. Steve's mother is simply happy that he is not guilty. Steve shares a close relationship with his parents, and it is apparent that they both care deeply about their son. They even suggest getting an African American lawyer to defend him because they think it will help. Although Steve made the decision to participate in the crime, his parents clearly haven't instilled a sense of right and wrong in their child. Steve's flashback to when he threw a stone that hit a man demonstrates that he has been making bad decisions since a child. Despite their parenting flaws, they visit Steve in jail and attend the trial which illustrates that they support their son.

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