Study Guide

A Monster Calls Chapter 4

By Patrick Ness

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Chapter 4

Life Writing

  • School's out, and Conor's racing home. But he's not happy.
  • His English teacher, Mrs. Marl, has assigned them to write a story about their lives. Family vacations, happy memories, etc.
  • Conor's got some memories, all right, but they're none of anybody else's business. Mainly because they're not exactly rainbows and unicorns: his dad left, his mom got sick, his cat wandered off and never came back. 
  • Needless to say, he's not down with writing about them.
  • Lily comes running up to him and yells at him for not sticking up for her and telling Miss Kwan what really happened.
  • Conor says he doesn't need her help and it's none of her business.
  • Lily says she's got detention all week, which Conor says is not his problem.
  • Lily begs to differ. It's totally his fault. Nuh-uh, says our hero. It's all Lily's fault.
  • What's her fault, you ask? Well, Conor and Lily used to be best friends and share their deepest secrets, but then Lily told everyone his mom had cancer, and all bets were off. Conor was not pleased.
  • And he'll never forgive her, natch. He ditches Lily on the street and heads home, thinking about his parents' divorce. (He's a cheery guy, our Conor.)
  • When he sees the graveyard, he notices that the yew tree's there, just chillin' as usual.
  • But then it grows a face and says his name.
  • Conor steps back and falls against a parked car, but when he looks up, the tree is just a tree again.
  • Dun dun dun.

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