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A Monster Calls
A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
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A Monster Calls Theme of The Supernatural

Two monsters, both alike in dignity, in fair… oops, wrong book (although R&J could only have benefited from the addition of monsters). In all seriousness, we think the monsters in this book, with all their supernatural powers and keen ability to scare the pants off us, are serving a deep purpose. Back in the day, people used to blame supernatural, demonic spirits for mental illnesses and other health problems. And in A Monster Calls, the pit monster is connected to Conor's mother's cancer, while the yew tree monster is connected to Conor's own grief and bad behavior, just like in ye olden times. Only here, it turns out Conor's got all the power, and the monsters are merely there to play along.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. If the monster comes back in the future after Conor's mom is gone, will people think he's suffering from a mental illness if he tells them about it? Or will they still write it off as grief?
  2. Does the tree monster already know about the monster in the pit? Is the pit monster as ancient as the tree monster? Do they hang out at monster reunions?
  3. Do you think Conor's mom also sees the monster? Could that be why she tells Conor she heard him in the night, and why she asks him to watch over the yew tree?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Conor's monster is a version of the ancient Green Man myth.

Conor's mother isn't at peace with her own death, which is why she screams for Conor to hang on when the pit monster grabs her. In denying her death to Conor, she's also convinced herself she can prevent it with enough willpower.

Next Page: Suffering
Previous Page: Versions of Reality

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