Walter Dean Meyers: Monster

I think what I may have found most intriguing thing about the book, Monster, were the formats used by Walter Dean Meyers.  The first of which was the personal journal/notes of the main character Steve.  Steve accounts the horrors of his time in jail takes notes while in court (though it seems all he wrote down in court was one question and the word monster, over and over).  The second format was the script, complete with camera angels, that Steve writes to distract himself from the events occurring in his life.  I think it would be a great writing assignment, in general, to have students take notes on the events of their lives and create a movie script to tell the story with multiple points of view.

Meyers discusses Monster: 

One aspect that Meyers discusses in his interview and highlights in the book, Monster, is the audiences’ desire for a predictable resolution in which they are left with a sense of understanding that the end is a justified result of the story.  I think it would be great to have students debate the pivotal point in the story where Mrs. O’Brien stiffens and turns away from Steve when he reaches out to her for a celebratory hug after the not guilty plea.  It seems that she does not share the opinion of the jury.  There are many reasons why she may have shunned him but the most obvious is that perhaps Steve is guilty of the crime.  Students could reference other parts of the story to see if they feel he is guilty of innocent.

Another topic students could explore is youths in correctional facilities.  In my small school district, I am personally aware of several students that have been to Juvenile Detention and of others that are on parol from crime ranging from drugs to robbery.  Crime touches us all and students should be able to explore consequences of the actions that they choose in order to promote good citizens.


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