Study Guide

A Monster Calls Chapter 30

By Patrick Ness

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Chapter 30

Life After Death

  • Conor asks the monster why the pit monster didn't kill him. After all, he deserved the punishment, right?
  • Ah, but the monster's not so sure about that.
  • Conor says he knows he was selfish, but he just wanted to stop thinking about it. He just wanted it to end.
  • The monster tells Conor he's finally told the truth, and that's what he was after all along. 
  • Worried, Conor says he didn't mean to let her go, but he did, and now she's going to die because of him.
  • Not so, says the monster. It wasn't Conor's fault. He just wanted his pain to end. And that's totally understandable.
  • Still, Conor's a bit stuck. He says he didn't mean it, to which the monster replies that he did and he didn't.
  • How can both those be true? 
  • Well, as it turns out, that's the point of the monster's stories: humans are complicated. The queen was both a good witch and a bad witch. The prince was both a murderer and a savior. The apothecary was both evil and right. Invisible men become lonelier when they're seen.
  • Just like how Conor knew the truth that made the lies necessary. He needed to believe his mom would get better because it was too painful to know she was dying.
  • Unfortunately, the human mind will punish us for believing both. And the only way to fight those conflicting thoughts and all the havoc they wreak is to tell the truth.
  • What the monster came to tell him—the reason the tree came to life—was that Conor needed to know we write our lives with actions—not words.
  • Thoughts, says the monster, aren't wrong, because they're not actions.
  • Conor suddenly realizes he's exhausted, and the monster tells him to sleep. Then it makes its hands into a nest, and Conor crawls in for some shut-eye.
  • He wants to ask the monster why it always comes at 12:07, but he's asleep before he can speak.

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