Monster Metaphors and Similes

"That being scared was like a little ball in the pit of my stomach" (Simile)

Steve's fear is a direct result of his loss of control and general feelings of uncertainty. Steve equates his fear with a physical object taking up space inside of his body. In this way, Steve directly recognizes his emotions and subsequently realizes how his emotional health is impacting his physical health. Steve feels suffocated by his fear, and he does not know how or when it will pass.

"It was as if closing my eyes was going to cause me to die" (Simile)

Throughout the novel, Steve repeatedly emphasizes his unrest. During the day, he is hyper-aware of his surroundings in jail. He cannot let down his guard for fear of attack or assault. In the courtroom, Steve's external appearance and behaviors are incessantly scrutinized. Even when Steve attempts to sleep at night, he fears the images that appear in his nightmares. While Steve knows that closing his eyes will not literally cause him to die, he is exhausted by the fact that he is unable to rest for even a single moment.

"Most people in our community are decent, hardworking citizens who pursue their own interests legally and without infringing on the rights of others. But there are also monsters in our community" (Metaphor)

In her opening statement, prosecutor Sandra Petrocelli refers to the men involved in the murder of Mr. Nesbitt "monsters." Although she does not mean that James King, Bobo Evans, Osvaldo, and Steve are literal monsters, she uses this word to comment on the men's behavior. In Petrocelli's eyes, the four men personify barbarity and cruelty. In this way, she invites the jury to question the defendants' humanity, and thus to be willing to give them the death penalty

"You do the crime, you do the time. You act like garbage, they treat you like garbage" (Simile)

During Steve's conversation with an unnamed older prisoner, the man explains that Steve does not have any autonomy while in jail. Because he has committed a crime, Steve is subject to a specific kind of treatment that does not compare to the treatment of a free man. In this context, garbage signifies worthlessness and waste. Due to Steve's alleged involvement in the murder, he is treated not as a human but rather as a piece of trash.

"You acting like you a preacher or something, but guess where you at? This ain't no hotel" (Simile)

Steve is frustrated by his situation in prison. He is convinced that he should be viewed as a human, not as a monster. However, his fellow prisoners deny his optimism and hope. In comparing Steve to a preacher, the prisoner criticizes Steve's idealism and naivety.