Why does Steve Harmon want to write his story as a movie in Monster?  

Steve Harmon wants to write his story as a movie in Monster to give audiences an authentic portrayal of his terrifying experience in prison. Steve's movie script also provides an outlet for him to express his conflicting emotions and allows him to examine his identity. Steve has always had an affinity for movies, is familiar with how to write a screenplay, and feels that his movie will finally depict the horrors of prison life as never seen before.

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Steve is a teenager from Harlem who is on trial for felony murder because of his alleged involvement in a botched robbery, during which the owner of a drugstore is killed. He chronicles his experiences with the justice system in the form of a movie. Steve seems to want to use the screenplay to try to understand what is happening around him and why it is happening. Everything he is experiencing does not feel real; it feels like a movie, and he is prepared to use his love of movies to guide himself through his experience.

Steve also writes that he wants the screenplay to reflect the real, raw experience of being a prison inmate. Steve has seen prison movies before, but he wants his to be a true story about the real horrors of being in prison. Writing the screenplay allows Steve to cope with his fears—both of being in prison and of the unknown—and make sense of his confusion.

The movie is also broken into scenes, which helps Steve create a sequence and therefore make sense of everything around him. He often feels like he is simply lost in a crowd of people and has no idea where to turn, but breaking the different experiences he has into scenes of a movie helps him cope with his feelings of confusion.

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On page 3, Steve says, "I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie." Everything that he is experiencing in the prison feels like something from a Hollywood blockbuster, and, as such, he decides to write it down in the form of a screenplay. Not, he says as "the story of my life...but of this experience." In other words, he claiming he's using his love of films to help him get through what is for someone of his young and sensitive disposition, a surreal and traumatic experience.

However, as the story goes on, the reader starts to wonder if Steve is guilty after all. Some of the actions that he describes in the script, such as how he reacts to hearing the news of the drug owner, certainly suggest he had some involvement in the crime. So from this perspective, the script works as a way for him to distance himself from what he has done. Movies are for him a fantasy world that he can disappear into without suffering the consequences.

He seems torn, however, between admitting his guilt, if only to himself, and denying he has had any involvement. At times, this unease communicates itself through how he sensationalizes the material. For example, he calls the film "Monster! The Story of My Miserable Life." It is not really a title that one would usually give an honest and realistic film.

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Steve Harmon is a sensitive, confused teenager, who is on trial for the robbery/murder of a local Harlem drugstore owner. Steve has an affinity for movies and narrates his story in the form of a screenplay, which he plans on producing when he is older. In the Prologue of the novel, Steve describes his terrifying experience in jail and wonders what he will look like when the trial is over. Steve mentions that he already has a difficult time identifying himself and feels like he has walked into the middle of a movie. According to Steve, the movie is strange and has no plot or beginning. The cameras in the movie zoom in so close that he cannot tell what is going on.

Steve goes on to say that he has seen prison movies before, but his screenplay will finally reflect the genuine terror and fear inmates like himself experience on an everyday basis. He then describes his motivation to write a movie script, which will chronicle his personal experience in jail. While Steve never explicitly expresses this sentiment, the reader recognizes that writing the screenplay allows Steve the opportunity to cope with his fears, organize his thoughts, and examine himself. Overall, Steve Harmon is motivated to write his story into a movie in order to produce an authentic piece of art depicting his frightening experience in prison and the screenplay is a necessary outlet for him to examine his morality.

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Steve Harmon is a character that wants to understand not only what is happening to him, but how it happened and why. He also wants to understand himself. Throughout the book, he is constantly asking himself, "who am I, really?" and he finds that he often doesn't have an answer to that simple question. The book starts out with a journal entry in which Steve questions everything that he knows and everything that is happening to him in prison, as he's waiting for the outcome of his trial. He talks about how everything that is happening to him (the crime, the arrest, the sitting in jail, talking with his parents, prosecutors, the judge, and other criminals) feels like a movie that is typical of a regular "prison movie." To him, this is a movie that is about being alone and scared, even in a sea of other people. This gives him the idea to make his own movie, a movie that he can play out in his head, and divide up into scenes. He says on page 4 that, "... to get used to this I will have to give up what I think is real and take up something else. I wish I could make sense of it." This method of writing a script will help him compartmentalize what is happening in his mind.  

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