Study Guide

Monster Chapter 8

By Walter Dean Myers

Chapter 8

The Trial

  • Steve smiles at a pretty black juror, but she stops smiling and turns away. He is bummed and puts his head on the table.
  • O'Brien scolds him and tells him not to give up; when Steve looks up again, he's got tears on his face.
  • Back to Petrocelli and Osvaldo Cruz.
  • Petrocelli gets Osvaldo's take on the robbery, and Osvaldo tells her about the four jobs: Steve was the lookout who checked the place before the act went down, King and Bobo were the actual robbers, and Osvaldo was the brakes boy who was in charge of slowing down anyone who came after the burglars.
  • Everybody was supposed to get "a taste" of the money (8.13).
  • Osvaldo claims he didn't care about the cash, though, and that he only participated because he was scared of Bobo.
  • He says he's ratting them out now because of a plea deal.
  • Now it's Briggs's turn to question Osvaldo.
  • Briggs confirms with Osvaldo that he took part and made a statement to the police, and then he asks Osvaldo if he'd be willing to do anything to get out of trouble. Osvaldo says no, claiming that he's not a liar… at least not in court. How reassuring.
  • Briggs keeps pushing the point: If Osvaldo doesn't rat the others out, he goes to jail, correct? Osvaldo repeats that he's no liar under oath.
  • Briggs pushes even harder: So it's no good to lie, but it's okay to stick up a drugstore? Osvaldo claims, "That was a mistake" (8.37).
  • O'Brien steps up to the plate and gets Osvaldo to admit that the police found him thanks to his girlfriend who was angry with him after he knocked up another girl. Ouch.
  • O'Brien asks if he is a gangbanger, and he says no sirree.
  • O'Brien presses, though: Then Osvaldo doesn't belong to the Diablos? Well, yeah, kind of, yeah, he's a Diablo…
  • Osvaldo stumbles all over his answer, which is a score for O'Brien. She pounces on his lie, and he tries to claim, "It was a mistake" (8.51).
  • O'Brien comes in for the kill, asking what the difference is between a mistake and lie. Osvaldo give the jury puppy-dog-eyes and says he just wants to turn his life around.
  • O'Brien ain't backing down now, though, and she starts pounding him about the Diablos. Turns out that in order to get into the gang, Osvaldo had to (1) fight a fellow Diablo, and (2) cut somebody up (a stranger) where it showed.
  • O'Brien sinks her fangs. So Osvaldo could fight a gangbanger, cut a stranger, and beat on his girlfriend, but he was afraid of Bobo? "Yeah" (8.69), Osvaldo replies.
  • The jurors aren't buying it.
  • Now the screenplay heads to the visitor's area of the jail; Steve and his dad are talking.
  • They start off with small talk about the trial, and then Steve tells him he's going on the stand. Steve tells his dad he'll tell the truth: that he's innocent.
  • You can cut the father-son tension with a knife.
  • Steve asks if his dad believes he's innocent, and Mr. Harmon tries to hold back waterworks.
  • He tells Steve of the dreams he had for him, even when Steve was a baby. He never ever thought he'd see him mixed up in a mess like this.
  • Steve tries to see reassurance in his dad's eyes, but it's flown the coop, so he changes the subject and asks about his mom. Dad acknowledges it's hard on everyone.
  • Steve says he's okay, but we know he's not. How do we know? Because he puts his head down and sobs. Right there. Mr. Harmon tries to touch his hand, but a guard pulls it away.