Critical Context

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

The literary technique deployed by Myers of juxtaposing an objective, camera-like point of view with subjective diary entries seems uniquely effective to carry the intense emotion of the narrative. The novel, moreover, follows in the tradition of Stanley “Tookie” Williams, the convicted gang leader who wrote children’s books from prison and sought to prevent inner-city youths from joining gangs. Like Williams’s writing, Monster seeks to illustrate the complexity of life in the United States’ poorest urban communities and the detrimental effects of the dearth of positive role models in those communities.