Study Guide

A Monster Calls Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

A Monster Calls

  • It's 12:07 a.m., and 13-year-old Conor O'Malley is awake again. He's just had his usual nightmare, "the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming."
  • Nobody knows about the nightmare. Conor hasn't told his parents, his grandma, or any of the awful kids at school. He doesn't even tell us.
  • But it's not the nightmare that woke him up tonight. It's the fact that there's someone outside his bedroom window calling his name.
  • He tries to ignore it, telling himself it's just the wind, but it keeps calling, so he gets out of bed and goes to the window.
  • He sees what he always sees: the church tower on the hill behind his house, the graveyard surrounding the church, and the giant yew tree that stands in the midst of the graves.
  • He hears his name again and answers, saying, "What?"
  • A cloud moves in front of the moon, darkening the landscape, and a giant gush of wind whooshes into his room. He hears a loud sound like wood cracking.
  • When the cloud passes and the moonlight shines again, Conor sees that the yew tree is now standing in his yard.
  • But it doesn't remain standing for long. It turns into a gigantic tree monster, with trunks for legs and branches for arms and needle-leaf skin.
  • The monster grabs the roof of Conor's house, leans into his window, and tells Conor he's come to get him.
  • But Conor's not scared (we are). Apparently, this monster's totally lame compared to the one in his nightmare. He tells the monster to shout all it wants; he's seen worse.
  • The monster is shocked that Conor's not afraid, but tells him he will be before the end.
  • Then it opens up its mouth to eat him.

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