What is the theme of the novel Monster by Walter Dean Myers?

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The prominent theme of the novel Monster by Walter Dean Myers examines how the criminal justice system dehumanizes the accused and arbitrarily sentences young minorities. Throughout the novel, Myers characterizes the prosecutor, judge, and attorneys as unattached participants who are not concerned with correctly bringing to justice those truly guilty of committing crimes. The prosecutor and attorneys simply seek personal gain from winning their cases, while the defendants are essentially helpless. The prosecutor also describes Steve Harmon as a "monster," which adversely affects Steve's perception of himself. Throughout the novel, Steve struggles with his identity and becomes sick when he realizes he looks similar to the other criminals in jail. Various inmates also elaborate on how truth is insignificant during a trial and sentencing is rather arbitrary. Steve feels hopeless throughout the novel and fears being lost in the system. Myers illuminates the impersonal reality of the criminal justice system and how it negatively affects and victimizes young minorities.

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