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Analysis

Literary Devices in A Monster Calls

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

If you've got a yew tree in a graveyard outside an old stone church, chances are good your story's going to be set in the U.K, which is chock full of old cemeteries, yew trees, and things that go b...

Narrator Point of View

Although the story is told in the third person, we see everything happen through Conor's eyes in A Monster Calls. Even when Conor and the monster are one, we're getting Conor's side of the story. F...

Genre

Wait a minute—how the heck can something be both magical and real? After all, it's not like that stuff David Blaine does could actually happen, right? Right? So let us put it in literary terms fo...

Tone

We'll be the first to admit it: "quirky" is an adjective that can be borderline insulting at times. If you're a girl who wears your makeup like David Bowie or a guy who dresses like Alex from A Clo...

Writing Style

A Monster Calls grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go until the end. How can you not keep reading after this:He'd had a nightmare. Well, not a nightmare. The nightmare. The one he'd been...

What's Up With the Title?

Not to be Captain Obvious or anything, but the book opens with a monster coming to call on Conor. Boom. Title explained. Ah, but not so fast. Another monster's been calling all along, if only throu...

What's Up With the Ending?

Oh, 12:07, you break our hearts.We don't see the actual moment of Conor's mother's death, as if Ness wants to let Conor be alone with her. But we know what's coming, because he's set it up all thro...

Tough-o-Meter

The toughest thing about reading A Monster Calls is seeing the words through the tears in your eyes. Seriously, this one will make you sob—maybe not right up front, but by the last page, we'd be...

Plot Analysis

What Dreams Are Made OfIt's 12:07 a.m. Conor wakes from his nightmare, the one he has every night, and hears someone calling his name. When he looks outside, he sees that the yew tree near his hous...

Trivia

Yew trees don't just turn into monsters (although it's a handy trick); they also give us the chemotherapy drug Taxol, which Siobhan Dowd herself took. (Source.) When Conor mentions the tube going i...

Steaminess Rating

There's no sexytime at all in A Monster Calls, with one very tame exception: in the monster's first story, the prince and his girlfriend, who have vowed to remain virgins until marriage, don't mana...
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