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Transcript of MONSTER
"I didn't do it.."
"I want to know who I am.."
"My Life as a Movie.."
"I'm just not a bad person.."
Uses for content areas:
The story opens with the main character, Steve Harmon, in jail.
He is accused of assisting in the robbery and murder of a local drugstore owner, Aguinaldo Nesbitt.
Told from Steve’s perspective, the story is written in the form of a screenplay and is supplemented with his journal entries and flashbacks.
As the trial begins, we are introduced to Kathy O’Brien, Steve’s attorney, and Sandra Petrocelli, the prosecutor.
Several undesirable characters take the stand, in hopes of getting out of jail or reducing their sentences by testifying for the prosecution.
One of the characters, James King, shot Mr. Nesbitt.
Among the other undesirable characters are Salvatore Zinzi, an inmate claiming to have pertinent information to the case and Wendell Bolden, another prisoner who implicated BoBo Evans in the crime.
At this point, Steve faces an uncertain future.
• Steve’s mom comes to visit and brings him a Bible: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. (p. 146)”
• All you have going for you is the surface stuff – how you look at people and what you say.
• “Movie is more real in so many ways than the life I am leading. No, that’s not true. I just desperately wish this was only a movie.” – Steve
• State Case: The prosecutors bring in their best witnesses. First person called to the stand is Lorelle Henry. She recognizes King.
• Second on stand – Richard “Bobo” Evans. Otherwise known as “the rat.” He is offered a deal to testify against King; although, he helped King in the robbery.
• Steve is constantly anxious; his heart is beating fast and he is overwhelmed. He tries to convince himself that everything is going to be alright.
• The section closes with Dorothy Moore (King’s cousin) on the stand; claiming King was with her the afternoon of the robbery/murder.
• Questioning of King – purpose to find out his dominant hand because victim shot on the left shoulder
• Steve’s attorney, O’Brien, conducts a practice section of questioning with Steve
o Cup exercise
o Answers may have to be rephrased
• Steve’s testimony – he was not on lookout and was not involved
• Closing statements
o O’Brien claims no evidence of Steve at the drugstore
o State has proved two men were involved (King and Bobo)
o However, no one to point murder on
• Petrocelli points out that Steve happens to be acquaintances with everyone on trial
• Verdict in. Screen Rolls. King is handcuffed.
• Steve is found innocent
• O’Brien does not show any emotion towards Steve after victory
• Five months later, Steve’s dad wonders who his son is
• Although found innocent, Steve’s identity is still in question
o He create documentaries of himself
o “I want to know who I am”
o “I want to look at myself a thousand times to look for one true image”
• Steve reflects back on O’Briens reactions
o “What did she see?”
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
• Steve remembers detectives coming to his home, being arrested, and interrogated two weeks after the crime.
• Steve envisions himself receiving the lethal injection on death row
• O’Brien states “…the jury believed you were guilty the moment they laid eyes on you. You’re young, you’re Black, and you’re on trial” (p. 79).
• After a hard day at trial, Mr. Harmon, Steve’s father comes to visit later that day.
o Mr. Harmon tells a story of his dreams for his young son. Dreams of Steve playing football and going to college.
o Father and son sob together.
o Steve thinks to himself, “It’s like a man looking down to see his son and seeing a MONSTER instead” (p. 116)
• In the court room
o Osvaldo, an old acquaintance of Steve’s, tells the court he heard Steve was supposed to be the lookout.
o Detective Williams presents no evidence to implicate Steve in the robbery or shooting.
• Steve thoughts
o I’m just not a bad person. I know that in my heart I am NOT a bad person.
o She [O’Brien] thinks I’m guilty.
o I’m not guilty…I didn’t do it.
High profile current events centered around racial discrimination or other forms of bias
Used to discuss famous court cases in history
Events during the 60's
Struggle of civil rights
Probability and Statistics - number of African Americans on death row who are wrongly accused.
Who were "guilty until proven innocent"
Probability or likelihood of a black person in American being accused of a crime
Students could participate in a theatrical performance of a scene.
Read, analyze, and discuss supplementary texts that could relate to the book or themes in the book.
They could use video cameras and create films of scenes from this book or a related text like Steve - the main character
a study of the science behind DNA evidence could be an extension/research activity