What is the setting of Monster by Walter Dean Myers?

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What is the setting of Monster by Walter Dean Myers?

The setting of Monster by Walter Dean Myers is Manhattan and Harlem, New York, specifically the jail where Steve is incarcerated and the courtroom.

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The book takes place in the state of New York.  That’s really broad, though.  Specifically there are three main settings in the book.  The first is the jail where Steve is being kept.  Steve is terrified of the jail.  He is surrounded by violent criminals that use physical violence to assert their dominance.  While Steve knows that he could probably act the same way, he is terrified of doing so.  

The second main location is the courtroom itself.  It’s a popular place to make a setting of.  John Grisham basically made a career out of writing about it.  Even To Kill a Mockingbird sets large parts of the story in a courtroom.  The courtroom in Monster stands out as being a polar opposite to the prison.  Prison is wild chaos compared to the rigid structure and order of the courtroom.  

The third location is revealed to the reader through courtroom testimony.  That location is the section of the city where Steve lived, including the streets, the drugstore, etc.  

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Myers’s 1999 young adult crime novel Monster is set in New York City, in Manhattan and Harlem. Through Steve’s memories and flashbacks, the audience is able to explore these areas; the narrative takes place in various locations throughout Steve’s own neighborhood, the drugstore where the crime took place, and the streets of Harlem.

One of the main settings in the novel, however, is the jail; Myers describes the chaos that rules prison. He portrays Steve as a terrified and scared young boy who is surrounded by violence and instability. At one point, Steve even contemplates to commit suicide, as he’s starting to believe that he’s actually a heartless criminal and an inhumane individual—a monster.

The other major location is the courtroom, where Steve and his lawyer attempt to prove that he is innocent. The entire experience is nerve-wracking, and Steve feels very anxious; fortunately for him and his family, the jury concludes that Steve did not murder Mr. Nesbitt and that he is not guilty. It’s noteworthy to mention that even though Steve feels very nervous in the courtroom, he also feels a bit safer in comparison to how he feels in the prison. The courtroom is a lot calmer and more orderly, while the prison is very chaotic, stressful, and scary.

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