Write a paper in which you engage in a thorough interpretation of a theme or idea listed in the topic ideas given below.
Pick the banned book—“Monster” by Walter Dean Myers. Once you’ve chosen the book, read it and analyze it for the following;
a. Theme
b. Imagery
c. Symbolism
d. Life lesson taught in the work.
e. Finally, I want to know why “experts” believed the book should be banned. Use research to support your findings.
The e key to this assignment is developing an original thesis statement regarding your
choice. Make sure to structure your paper with a series of topic sentences that directly connect back to this thesis statement. Then use your own textual analysis as well as
research (i.e. literary criticism) to investigate and ultimately “prove” your thesis.


Sample Answer

Sample Answer

The Theme of Injustice and Stereotyping in “Monster” by Walter Dean Myers

Thesis Statement: “Monster” by Walter Dean Myers explores the theme of injustice and stereotyping through its use of imagery, symbolism, and powerful storytelling. Despite being banned in some educational institutions, the novel provides a valuable life lesson by highlighting the consequences of prejudice and the importance of empathy and understanding.


“Monster” by Walter Dean Myers is a thought-provoking young adult novel that addresses important themes surrounding injustice and stereotyping. The story follows sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon, an aspiring filmmaker who finds himself on trial for his alleged involvement in a robbery-turned-murder. Through the use of imagery, symbolism, and a strong narrative, Myers effectively portrays the impact of prejudice and challenges readers to critically examine their own biases. While the book has faced criticism and has been banned in certain educational settings, it serves as a powerful tool for teaching valuable life lessons.

Theme: Injustice and Stereotyping

The central theme of “Monster” revolves around the presence of injustice and stereotyping within society. Throughout the novel, Steve Harmon faces prejudice from both the legal system and society due to his race and alleged involvement in a crime. The author uses vivid imagery to depict the courtroom as a place where individuals are judged based on preconceived notions rather than evidence. For instance, Myers describes the prosecutor’s tactics as manipulative and emphasizes how the jury’s perception of Steve is influenced by racial stereotypes.

Imagery: Depicting Injustice

Myers employs powerful imagery to illustrate the presence of injustice in “Monster.” One striking example is the use of a journal format interspersed with screenplay-like scenes. This format allows readers to experience Steve’s perspective and witness his struggle against racial bias firsthand. By juxtaposing Steve’s journal entries with the courtroom scenes, the author highlights the stark contrast between his internal thoughts and the external perception of him as a “monster.”

Symbolism: Challenging Stereotypes

The novel also employs symbolism to challenge stereotypes and confront readers with their own biases. The character of James King, a fellow defendant, serves as a symbol of society’s tendency to judge individuals based on their appearance or circumstances. Despite being involved in the crime, King is portrayed as a more sympathetic character due to his affluent background. This juxtaposition forces readers to question why certain individuals are automatically labeled as “monsters” while others are given more leniency.

Life Lesson: Consequences of Prejudice

“Monster” teaches an important life lesson about the consequences of prejudice. Through Steve’s experiences, readers come to understand that unfair judgment can have profound effects on a person’s identity and future. The novel emphasizes the importance of empathy and understanding, challenging readers to question their own biases and preconceived notions.

Banning Controversy: Misunderstanding and Fear

Despite its powerful message, “Monster” has faced banning in some educational institutions. Experts who argue for its ban often claim that the book contains explicit language and addresses sensitive themes such as violence and drug use. However, these arguments fail to acknowledge the book’s educational value in promoting critical thinking and fostering discussions about prejudice and social justice. By banning “Monster,” critics miss an opportunity to address important issues that young readers may face in their own lives.


“Monster” by Walter Dean Myers explores the theme of injustice and stereotyping through its use of imagery, symbolism, and storytelling. The novel provides a valuable life lesson by highlighting the consequences of prejudice and emphasizing the importance of empathy. Despite facing banning in some educational settings, “Monster” offers an opportunity for young readers to critically engage with complex themes and encourages them to challenge their own biases. By reading and discussing this banned book, students can develop a deeper understanding of social justice issues and contribute to creating a more inclusive society.


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