Monster Conflict Essay: Innocence Vs. Guilt

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Monster Conflict Essay: Innocence vs. Guilt

The definition of a “monster” is a threatening force. In Walter Dean Myers’ Monster, Steve Harmon the defendant in the trial is being charged for felony murder. The monster in him is the struggle between his innocence and guilt. Steve’s judgment of his actions is similar to a pendulum swinging. Although Steve believes within himself that he is innocent, of the important people around him, make him insecure as to the degree of his innocence and turn to others for confirmation.
Steve Harmon, the defendant, is faced with an internal conflict that questions his self-identity and his character in relation to the crime.
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He depends on others to bring clarity to his mind, such as saying, “What did I do?”. After the session at court was finished, Steve was insecure about what Ms. O’Brien, his lawyer, thinks of him. He writes an entry about it: “Who was Steve Harmon? I wanted to open my shirt and tell her to look into my heart to see who I was, who the real Steve Harmon”(92). During the trial, Ms. O’Brien stays distant from him. Because of the distance, Steve wants her true opinion of him with no biases, especially since he is Black. He wants to know who he is and wishes it would be as easy as seeing. Also, since he sees tears in his father’s eyes and sees people second-guess his character, his self-doubt is reaffirmed. In his diary entry, Steve uses the word ‘real’ because he wants people to see the non-superficial side of him. Steve desires people to not ask him or see him, but look into his heart. His wording shows that he doesn’t know who he is and therefore believes he is a Monster as Ms. Petrocelli calls him. He accepts people’s judgments as his self-truth. Even though, he, himself, accepts the worst he still wants people to perceive him as a good person, especially his mom. Steve’s mom’s words cut deeper in him because his mom believes he didn’t do it while he knows he did. 5 days into the trial, his mother comes by and talks to him hoping to make him feel better, “I could still feel Mama’s pain. And I knew she felt that I didn’t do anything wrong. It was me who wasn’t sure. It was me who lay on the cot wondering if I was fooling myself.” Steve’s mother’s encouraging words made him rethink his guilt. He feels bad for making his family go throw this, as he feels her pain. Steve’s mother’s insight into the crime makes Steve feels as if he is innocent. Ordinarily, he is relying on others’ to see where he stands in the crime and if he is innocent or not. In this case, he is
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