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Monster by Sanyika Shakur aka Monster Kody Scott Growing up in a world of gangs, death, and suffering Kody Scott also known as Monster Kody grew up in a life of struggle. From eleven years old Kody knew what he wanted a to be, a gangster. Nothing could stop him from becoming one of the most feared gang member of the late 1970's and early 80's except maybe his own conscience. Kody Scott goes through an evolution, from a child to Monster Kody to finally Sanyika Shakur his Muslim name. Sanyika Shakur is a true survivor, considering everything that has taken place in his life he has managed to make something of himself from nothing. Kody Scott was born into the gang life weather he liked it or not.
Born on 1963 in South Central Los Angeles Kody's life would be affected by the growing number of gangs inevitably. Kody knew he had a choice to be made, be a gang member or be a pedestrian. He viewed pedestrians as spineless nerds who were always victims of someone's ridicule or physical violence, who never responded to an affront of any type. He himself had a taste of pedestrian life in grade school were he was picked on and had his lunch money taken from him. "Early on I saw and felt both sides of the game being played where I lived.
It was during my time in elementary school that I chose to never be a victim again, if I could help it" (Shakur 100). Being in a gang gave Kody a feeling of security in a city of violence. "I felt very different, older, more attached than any of my fellow classmates" (Shakur 3). He was initiated into the Eight Tray Gangsters at age eleven.
In order to be accepted into the gang Kody had to shoot 6 rounds of a sawed off shotgun into an opposing gang. Later that night when he was trying to sleep his conscience hit him and he couldn't believe what he had done. This is the first and the last time for along time he listened to his conscience. Kody realizes that gang banging isn't just part time it is a lifestyle, you cant take any days off.
It is more like a religion or a career, no days off, full time gang banging. "Bangin' ain't no part-time than, its full time, it's a career" (Shakur 12). One year after Kody joined the gang he had a transformation from Kody Scott to Monster Kody his gang name. One night when he was out on the prowl he beat someone so bad that the police said it looked like a monster had beaten him. From then and there after his new name was Monster Kody. No one would call him Cody Scott ever again except his Mom who had no relationship with anymore.
His new family was his gang or "set."Set" is used in the book as a term for his certain fraction of the Crips. The two major gangs at the time were the Bloods and the Crips. Each gang had twenty or so sets within them. The violence at that time wasn't as bad as it soon was to get.
Crips started fighting Crips. The Eight Tray Gangstas worst enemies were not the Bloods but another set of the Crips, the Rollin Sixties. Once in a war with the Rollin Sixties Monster barely missed death more than a couple of times. On a what seemed normal to Monster Kody he was shot six times.
Amazingly he lived and while in the hospital he started to question his lifestyle for the first time since the first night of initiation. "I rationalized my action continually, and with each successive level of consciousness I reached, my rationalization become less convincing to me. Questions were often left to hang in the balance because my conscience simply refused to process them due to such illogical reasoning" That night in the hospital is the first step towards his conversion from Monster Kody to Sanyika Shakur. Although the name Sanyika Shakur wasn't taken until near the end of the books it is symbolic for Monster Kody's transformation from a gangsta to a citizen once again. Monster, while in prison, began educating himself. What started out with books about the arts of war ended with the reading of Malcolm X and other Black nationalists.
One day when his set needed to meet in prison the only safe place without raising suspicion was at the Muslim services. Here Monster met Muhammad who is solely responsible for introducing Monster to the Islam religion. Slowly Monster become more self conscience of what was happening around and he bought more and more into the Islam religion and fighting for peace. It isn't an easy thing to get out of a gang.
As a member, especially one with such status and reputation as Monster, you cant just quit. First he tried joining the Consolidated Crip Organization which was a group against Crip on Crip violence. This group later fell apart later and Monster joined the New African Independence Movement a group against gangster life. Around the same time Monster made his final transformation to Sanyika Shakur. The other gangstas respected him for his choice and Sanyika respected them even though it wasn't the life for him. Sanyika Shakur's transformation was complete; Kody Scott, the civilian in a world of violence, Monster Kody, the notorious gangsta, and finally Sanyika Shakur, a citizen trying to make a difference so others wont make the same bad decisions as him.
Sanyika Shakur again was sent to prison, this time for beating down a crack dealer who wouldn't stop selling in his neighborhood. Sanyika doesn't regret what he did and wrote the book while in prison. Sanyika is currently working on ending gangs completely, he speaks to schools about it and is trying to help educate people about how horrible it really is. He survived a complete circle of life from civilian to gangsta back to civilian. He had been shot on three different occasions with eight bullets which is material testament he is a true survivor. Psychological proof is he survived the mental strain of gangsta life and managed to come out a better person so he can make a difference in the world today..
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