Monster Study Guide

Journal Entry #7 - Saturday, July 11th

The weekend begins with O’Brien warning Steve not to write anything his notebook that he doesn’t want the prosecutor to see. He asks her what she is going to do over the weekend, and she appears surprised at his question. She tells him her plans and then smiles at him. Steve is embarrassed that a smile can mean so much to him. When he asks her how many times she’s appeared in court, her mouth tightens, and she responds, “Too many times.” That’s when Steve knows that she thinks he’s guilty. He tells her he’s not guilty, that he didn’t do it. Later, he finds out that Sunset had been found guilty. Sunset seems okay with the time he’ll have to do which makes Steve even more afraid, not of rape or being beaten, but of the time he’ll have to do. He insists that he walked into a drugstore to look for some mints and then he walked out. What’s wrong with that? He wonders. He didn’t kill Mr. Nesbitt! He mentions a guy named Ernie who had been caught inside a jewelry store in the process of robbing it. Ernie insists he’s not guilty, because he didn’t actually take anything. Steve says in the journal that Ernie is trying to convince himself he isn’t guilty. He also comments on the violence in the detention center, which makes him wonder if he would survive 20 years in prison.

Then, Steve tells us in his journal about his mom’s visit. He wanted to be strong so that she didn’t have to cry, but it doesn’t matter, because the tears just roll down her face. She worries that she should have hired a black lawyer, but Steve says it’s not about race. She brings him a Bible which the guards search meticulously. Steve wonders if they find any grace or salvation in their search. She marks off a passage for him to help him keep hope that God will do the right thing for him. She tells Steve that it seems like he’s been in prison forever, but Steve says some guys have done a whole calendar in there (a whole year). The realization that he is using prison slang makes the smile that comes to his mother’s lips look like it was wrenched from somewhere deep inside her. She tells him, “No matter what anybody says, I know you’re innocent, and I love you very much.” After she leaves the cell area, Steve lays down on his cot, obviously moved by her words. However, even though he knows she absolutely believes in him, he’s not so sure about himself. He wonders if he is just fooling himself.


There is a lot of irony in this journal entry, especially given that Steve applies the same analysis to Ernie that he should be applying to himself. It’s also ironic that he’s warned not to write anything in his journal that he wouldn’t want the prosecutor to see. The truth is that what he has written in there could get him convicted. Finally, when he tells his mother that the trial is not about race, it’s ironic, because it definitely is about race. The jury’s attitude is often that a young black man is automatically guilty just because he is young and black and on trial.

Also, the fact that Steve has doubts about himself foreshadows that possibility that he will be found guilty, because he is guilty.

Saturday, July 11th

This part of the story is yet another flashback. This time it’s a scene of Marcus Garvey Park where Steve is sitting on a bench when James King joins him while smoking a joint. King tells Steve that he has found where the payday is and asks Steve if he knows what he means. Steve’s response: “Yeah, I guess.” James pushes the issue, telling Steve that they can’t count on Bobo, because he doesn’t have heart. So he asks Steve if he has the heart for the deed. He needs a lookout and that’s all Steve will have to do. “You down for it?” asks James, but Steve looks away and never answers the older guy.


This flashback reveals that Steve was asked to part of the robbery that ended in murder. However, once again, he stops short of admitting to accepting the role of lookout.

Cite this page:

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