In Monster, why is it said that it is best to cry at night while someone is screaming?

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If you're going to survive in prison, you have to give the impression of being tough. Even if, deep down, you're not an especially strong person, you have to make the other inmates think that you are. That's why Steve does his crying at night; that way, no one will see his sad face covered in tears. If anyone sees Steve crying during the day, then that will be perceived as a fatal sign of weakness. Steve knows that he could well be spending the rest of his life in prison. That will be a hard enough stretch as it is without being subjected to constant threats of physical and sexual violence. If he's going to get through this ordeal, he has to stay strong. Above else, this means keeping his bitter tears concealed under the cover of darkness.

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Steve states that the best time to cry is at night because, normally, someone is being attacked and if the noise of the attack is loud enough no one would be able to hear you cry.  Steve is fearful that if someone hears you cry that you will be seen as weak and that you will be the next one to get attacked.  Steve knows that jail/prison is a place full of violence, that he does not being here, and showing any weakness will cause him problems with the other inmates.

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