Study Guide for Monster: Master List • Journal Entry, 1

Study Guide for Monster: Master List
Journal Entry, 1-5: Steve expresses his fear of the violence in jail. He mentions that he doesn’t
recognize himself in this place “I see a face looking back at me but I don’t recognize it” (1). He
decides to write his ideas in a notebook and use the ideas to make a movie of this experience.
He’ll call the movie Monster, which is what the prosecutor called Steve.
Flashback, Stuyvesant High School, 18-19: Sawicki criticizes the film for its predictable ending:
“When you make a film, you leave an impression on viewers, who serve as a kind of jury for your
film. If you make your film predictable, they’ll make up their minds about it long before it’s
over” (19). Myers puts this information at the start of the trial because he is suggesting that this
statement is also true for a jury trial. Is the outcome of the trial predictable? O’Brien may think
Witness testimony, Jose Delgado, 28-32: Delgado seems like a normal person: disciplined
(karate), reliable (a clerk for Mr. Nesbitt, punctual), and efficient (recognizes the missing
inventory quickly). He seems accurate in his testimony.
Witness testimony, Sal Zinzi, 32-41: Zinzi is different from Delgado because he is testifying to
get out of jail. Also he is repeating information that he heard from rumors. He has no first hand
knowledge of the situation. O’Brien and Briggs emphasize Zinzi’s background as a criminal and
liar; Petrocelli emphasizes that Zinzi knows the difference between truth and lying.
Flashback, rock throwing incident, 41-43: This scene reveals that Steve avoids responsibility.
He threw the rock that hit the lady, but when the tough guy asked “who threw that,” Steve said
“Tony. Run.” This made it seem like Tony threw the rock. Steve did not take responsibility for
his actions.
Journal Entry, 45-46: Steve is scared; afraid of violence in jail. Afraid of the other men. (Not
Flashback: Stoop 141st St: 49-51: Steve remembers a conversation with King about getting
money by robbery. Steve doesn’t walk away. Reveals he’s hanging out with wrong crowd
Flashback: Precinct: 71-73: Steve remembers talking to the detectives. King pointed the finger
at Steve for murder. The detectives are thinking out loud about death penalty. Probably trying
to scare Steve into admitting something. Steve is terrified in his imagination. (Possibly guilty)
Waiting Room outside Courtroom: 78-80: Because Steve is handcuffed to the bench, the
guards clearly think his is guilty and a risk of running away. O’Brien confirms this when she says
the jury probably also believe he is guilty because he’s young and black. (?)
Flashback: Neighborhood Stoop, 80-82: Osvaldo taunts Steve in front of Freddy. Steve
challenges Osvaldo, “and you will be, huh?” (82). The implication is that Steve may have carried
out his part in the crime just to prove to Osvaldo that he’s not a “lame.” (Guilty)
Witness Testimony: O.Cruz, 82-88: Back in the courtroom, Osvaldo claims to be afraid of Bobo,
James King, and Steve. Untrue that he’s afraid of Steve. The implication is that Osvaldo is a liar.
(Guilty ?)
Journal Entry, 89-98: Steve begins to recognize a similarity between prisoners who commit
crimes for which they don’t feel guilty (Acie who stole to feed his family) and himself. He
continues to think that Ms. O’Brien considers him guilty “I didn’t see her looking at me, but I
knew she was. She wanted to know who I was. Who was Steve Harmon?” (92). Steve deeply
believes “I am not a bad person” (93). He has a moment with James King in which King tries to
intimidate Steve with a scowl. It only makes Steve laugh. He realizes he wanted to be “tough
like him” but not anymore. Even the school children are afraid of Steve “the prisoner” (98).
Osvaldo’s Testimony – p. 99-109: Acts scared, tells lies, not a reliable witness.Doesn’t change
Steve’s guilt or innocence. Just makes Osvaldo look bad. Couldn’t convict Steve on Osvaldo’s
Journal Entry – p. 115-116: Steve rationalizing “Anybody can walk into a drugstore and look
around” (115) Respects his father; doesn’t want to disappoint him.
Steve’s Neighborhood: p. 117-121 Steve hears women talking about murder. Shocked! Drops
basketball, runs home. Insight into Mr. Nesbitt as good man, problems with crime in
neighborhood. Makes Steve look guilty – knew about planned robbery in advance.
Steve’s Apartment: p. 121-126 Steve hears news “absolute shock” (121).Officers arrive to arrest
Steve; lead him off in handcuffs; Jerry and Mrs. Harmon shocked. William’s treatment of Steve is
much more respectful in front of Steve’s mother “just a few questions” “routine” “don’t worry.”
What conclusions to draw from Steve’s actions? He avoids looking at his mother (125) as they
handcuff him. Feels guilty.
Journal, 127-130: Steve reflects on crime scene pictures of Mr. Nesbitt, “trying to make my
mind a blank screen” (128). Steve feels sick (guilty); “it was me . . . that had wanted to be tough
like them” (130).
Journal, 137-148: Steve says “I’m not guilty” – O’Brien says “you should have said “I didn’t do it”
(138). Steve is rationalizing his role in crime. Since he didn’t pull trigger, he thinks he isn’t guilty.
His mother believes in Steve, but senses a change
Garvy Park: 149-151: King asks Steve if he’s in for the “getover.” No answer. Repeated means
that it’s echoing in Steve’s mind.
Journal Entry: 153-159: Fighting in jail, Jerry far away (in street), Steve feels far away (from
baseball, family, God, former life). Struggling to accept reality. “I just desperately wish this was
only a movie” (159)
Witness Testimony: Lorelle Henry, 161-171: The questions about the photos and line-up are
important because they show Mrs. Henry’s hesitation to make a positive identification. She
initially had trouble picking James King out of a group of 30 pictures, but once she recognized
him, she easily picked him out of the line-up of 6 men. Her doubt helps the defense.
The social issue that comes up is Mrs. Henry’s comment: “I have trouble testifying against a
black man” (169). She may be a biased witness, but she later claims “I think I’m doing the right
thing. I think I’m identifying the right man” (169).
Petrocelli’s redirect was simply to reassure the jury that Henry was sure that King was the man.
Witness Testimony, Bobo Evans, 185-199: This selection shows that Bobo is a hardened
criminal with a long record of felonies. He is “copping deal” for his testimony (which makes him
less reliable), but his answers are confident and specific. Unlike Mrs. Henry who says “I think”
before every statement.
O’Brien asks Evans if he coerced Cruz into participating. Bobo said no, “I wouldn’t bring
anybody into a serious jam unless they wanted to be there” (193). O’Brien intentionally
reinforced Cruz as a liar because he’s the only one who really pointed the finger at Steve.