What was the main conflict in "Monster"?

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The main conflict of Walter Dean Myers' book, Monster, is about a teen accused of murder trying to clear his name in both the legal and social settings.  Steve is 16 years old and claims to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and claims to be the victim to inaccurate eyewitness accounts.  Steve must also deal with the most frightening nature of the justice system.  Steve's conflicts are primarily settled in the domain of an individual against a social order. Steve's battle to prove his innocence is the major conflict within the novel.

In addition to this, we never really know if Steve is innocent or guilty.  The journal/ script aspect of the novel makes it upon us to think about such an issue.  Perhaps, this is another conflict of the novel, only this one is left for us to analyze.  This question has been asked before and you can check out that answer and compare it to this one.

gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The main conflict in Monster concerns Steve Harmon's loss of identity. Throughout the novel, Steve is referred to as a "monster" by the prosecuting attorney. Like many other teenage minorities caught up in the justice system, Steve fits the stereotype and is automatically viewed as a criminal before the trial begins. Steve is placed in a violent detention center where he fears for his life every day. As the novel progresses, Steve's confidence diminishes, and he begins to wonder if he really is a "monster." Steve also questions his morals and is unsure about who he truly is. At the end of his trial, Steve is found not guilty and attempts to hug his attorney, Kathy O'Brien. However, instead of hugging Steve, O'Brien turns away from him. This gesture deeply upsets Steve, and he wonders if she viewed him as a "monster." Steve spends the rest of his days as a free man filming himself, trying to find his true identity. 

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allystars28's profile pic

allystars28 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

When I read it I saw the he is innocent. I'm trying to anwers the question what is the main problem or conflict?

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