Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member Summary & Study Guide

Sanyika Shakur
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Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member Summary & Study Guide Description

Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Kody Scott's story begins on June 15, 1975. He is graduating sixth grade but his pride in the day comes because it's the day he's to be initiated into a neighborhood gang, the Tray Eights, which is a "set" of the Crips. He recalls that he'd been proud of himself just weeks prior to graduation because he'd flashed a gang sign in a school photo. He says the fact that he'd done it - knowing he'd be caught - was the first sign that he'd become totally devoted to the gang. It would take more than a decade for him to come to the conclusion that his life must change.

Kody's devotion to the Crips is unsurpassed. He says that he is only happy when he is working for the gang. "Working" may mean anything from painting graffiti on walls advertising the gang or specific gang members or heading up an attack on another gang. Kody himself performs such acts of atrocity that he becomes known as "Monster," or "Monster Kody." From the night of his initiation, he proves that he is willing to kill for the gang and that dedication doesn't change for many years. Though Kody is not specific in the number of people he kills, he does detail his role in many shootings. Often, these are done in retaliation for attacks by other gangs. Kody agrees with those who say that the worst enemy of Crips are other Crips.

Through his life, his mother does her best to raise him and it's not until he's approaching adulthood that she tells him the man he's known as father is not his biological father. Kody never connects with either man and that fact drives him to be a good father to his own children, though that's not the case from the beginning.

Kody is involved with a girl from his gang named China when he meets an "outsider" named Tamu. He admits that the fact that he isn't a gang member when he's with her is part of the infatuation. They are close until she becomes pregnant and Kody, fearing fatherhood and the commitment it brings, abandons Tamu and the daughter she gives birth to.

Kody's diligence to his own gang puts him on the "hit lists" of others. He is set up by three girls and shot multiple times. The resulting hospital stay and recovery are time consuming and Kody is soon incarcerated. During that jail stay, he's rushed back for emergency surgery related to the earlier shooting. He's later shot again in the back that doesn't do a fraction of the damage of the first event. Over the years, he's arrested several times, charged for an array of crimes including murder, and manages to escape the charges until he's finally sentenced to seven years.

It's during his prison stay that he learns of a plan for an emerging syndication of the Crips and that he has done so much violence against other sets within the Crips that he must either pledge allegiance to this new organization or be killed. He does join, though with reservations and soon distances himself from the gang altogether. He eventually sees the advantages of respectability, gets a job and takes responsibility for Tamu and their children. His ideology regarding gangs changes to the point that he sees the error of his actions as a gangbanger. He says that he believes in separatism and that he believes, in the end, multiculturalism will fail.

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