"Set design, handcuffs, and prison outfits by the State of New York."
Steve chronicles his experience in prison by writing in the format of a screenplay. This narrative choice means that Steve must adhere to certain style conventions. In a screenplay, the writer sets the scene by describing the physical environment in which the story occurs. Steve pokes fun at the fact that he has decided to convert his traumatic experience into a screenplay. Instead of penning elaborate descriptions of costumes or set-design, Steve ironically expresses his appreciation for the State of New York in making these creative decisions for him.
Pessimism (Verbal Irony)
"Williams: This guy's only sixteen. They won't kill him.
Karyl: What are you, a pessimist? Hope for the best."
These words are exchanged between Williams and Karyl, the two detectives assigned to Steve's case. As they discuss the probability that Steve will receive the death penalty, Williams is convinced that the defendant will not be punished in this way. Karyl's rebuttal is an example of verbal irony, as it is optimistic, not pessimistic that Steve will be spared from such a harsh sentence. However, Karyl's comment also points to the violence prevalent in the American judicial system, revealing how police and prosecutors may actually want to see people executed.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty (Verbal Irony)
"I thought you're supposed to be innocent until you're proven guilty?"
Steve expresses his confidence in the adage that all alleged criminals are innocent until proven guilty. However, as Steve navigates prison and court, he realizes that everyone has already evaluated him and formed their impressions of him. In this way, many people involved in the judicial system are unable to view a defendant as entirely innocent due to circumstance.
Innocence (Dramatic Irony)
"But he felt he wasn't guilty. He had made a mistake in going into the store, but when the robbery didn't go down there was nothing he could do."
The feelings that Steve pens in his journal reveal a great deal of inner turmoil because, though Steve wants to convey that he is innocent, a part of him knows he might be found guilty. In another journal entry, Steve mentions that one of his fellow inmates, Ernie, is constantly trying to convince himself of his own innocence. Steve comments on Ernie’s behavior with confusion and disdain. This is ironic, because as we have seen, Steve’s journal entries express the same sentiments that he criticizes Ernie for expressing.
Monster Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Monster is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.