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Study Guide for Monster by Walter Dean Myers Summary

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BOOK SUMMARY / NOTES - MONSTER BY WALTER DEAN MYERS

Journal Entry #2

Summary

Steve copies some notes in which he states how he can hardly think about his movie, because he hates prison so much. However, he knows if he didn’t think about the movie, he would go crazy. It’s a catch-22 for his psychological state. He also mentions how all people in prison think of is hurting someone and that they even make knives out of toothbrushes. He ends his notes with the word HATE written over and over in bold print.

Notes

Even though a small chapter, this journal entry really shows how life in the prison can turn a man into the monster that Steve is beginning to believe he is. All he has is movie to channel his hate.





Thursday, July 7th

Summary

The trial continues with Wendell Bolden on the stand. The prosecutor has him admit that he is imprisoned for breaking and entering and intent to distribute drugs. He then admits that he had gotten some cigarettes from a guy who told him he had been involved in a robbery where a guy had been killed. Bolden had been thinking about trading what he knew “for some slack.” He reveals that the man who had told him about the robbery and sold him the cigarettes was Bobo Evans.

The scene then becomes another flashback in Steve’s memory. This time, it takes place on a stoop on 141st Street. James King and Steve are sitting on the steps with a heavy woman named Peaches and a thin man named Johnny stand above them. King complains that he needs to get “paid.” He figures if he had a “crew” with some heart and a nose for the cash, he could get paid. He asks Steve what he had and the boy answers that he doesn’t know. Johnny looks at him and wonders, “When you been down?” or since when has he been one of them.

The scene returns to the courtroom where Bolden continues his testimony. He tells the jury that he bought two cartons of cigarettes for $5 a piece and heard Bobo say he had gotten them from the robbery in the drugstore. He didn’t ask anymore about it, because all he wanted was the smokes. He says it all happened the day before Christmas. When Asa Briggs questions Bolden about whether he knew Evans before this and Bolden admits he didn’t. That makes Briggs question him as to why Bobo would give away this information to someone he didn’t even know. Bolden only responds that if the guy wanted to run his mouth, it was none of his business. Briggs also gets Bolden to admit that he’d cut a heavy deal with the prosecution to which Bolden claims he wanted to be a good citizen and do the right thing. The judge then adjourns court for the day.

The scene now cuts to the detention center where the camera slowly pans down the corridor toward the sound of fists methodically punching someone. Steve is lying on his cot, but he is not the one being beaten although the sounds are coming from his cell. The punching sounds soon change to those of a sexual attack and the scene fades out. Another flashback begins in Steve’s home where he is watching TV with his eleven-year-old brother, Jerry. Jerry talks about being a super hero and Steve tells him he’d want to be Superman. Jerry thinks Steve would be a cool super hero, but if he picked for his older brother, he’d make him Batman so he could be Robin.

Notes

This chapter emphasizes that the prosecution witnesses continue to be criminals willing to testify in order to make a deal to get out of prison. However, it also establishes that Steve had been with James King when he had been contemplating some way to obtain money with a crew that had the heart and the nose for the cash. It’s also obvious that Steve was fairly new to the group, because Johnny doesn’t know him. This is an important flashback, because it shows that Steve had made at least one bad decision when he chose to associate with someone like King.

The most poignant aspect so far to Steve’s story is the flashback to the conversation with his little brother. Jerry obviously looks up to his brother as a super hero, but ironically, Steve has decided to hang out with a questionable element in the neighborhood.

 

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