Monster Study Guide

Journal Entry #6

Steve comments on O’Brien’s assertion that Prosecutor Petrocelli is playing a cheap trick. When the judge calls for only a half-day session, Petrocelli pulls out the crime scene photos once again, so the jury will have them in their minds all weekend. Steve imagines himself writing about the crime, but he doesn’t want to have it in his mind anymore than the jurors might want to have the pictures in theirs. He wonders how Mr. Nesbitt felt at the moment of his death, and he can see himself walking down the street, trying to make his mind a blank screen, just as the man knew he was going to die. He is mopping the floor in the detention center when these thoughts come to him and they are almost enough to make him vomit. He recalls Miss O’Brien saying that she wanted to make him different in the eyes of the jury from Bobo, Osvaldo, and King, and he realizes that it had been him who wanted to be tough like them.


Once again, Steve’s journal provides important clues as to his guilt or innocence. He can’t stand to think of Mr. Nesbitt’s final moments, but admits he was walking down the street trying to keep his mind blank at the moment the man died. He admits also that he had wanted to be tough like King, Bobo, and Osvaldo. The question then must be asked: are these admissions enough to make the reader believe he’s guilty?

Friday, July 10th

Steve writes his play at this point into a split-screen four-way montage: three images alternating between shots of witnesses and defendants. The viewer will hear only one witness at a time, but see the others clearly talking on other screens. In the upper left screen is Detective Williams; in the lower left in Allen Forbes, a City clerk; in the lower right is Dr. James Moody, the medical examiner; and the upper right screen is sometimes black, sometimes a startling, stark white. Sometimes the witnesses are replaced with the faces of King or Steve for reaction shots.

Allen Forbes testifies that the gun was registered to Mr. Nesbitt and it was legal for him to have it in his possession. Detective Williams testifies to what happened when he arrived at the crime scene. He explains that there were few clues to help them until they got a tip from Zinzi on Riker’s Island that led them to Bobo Evans. Dr. Moody testifies as to the time and cause of death, telling the jury that Mr. Nesbitt actually died from drowning in his own blood. This information causes Steve to catch his breath sharply while James King tilts his head to one side, seemingly without a care.


The four-way montage of testimony is a very creative technique, which shows Steve’s imagination and potential as a writer. This reinforces the poignancy of such a creative young man being on trial for murder. It also allows us to see important responses to the testimony that we might not see with a straight on view of the witness. The fact that Mr. Nesbitt died such a horrifying death reveals that Steve isn’t like the other “monster” on trial. King shows no reaction, but Steve is horrified.

Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Monster". . 09 May 2017