A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (An October Buddy Read- Part 4)

Part 4: I No Longer See You - 100 years

1. Harry, the school bully, looks straight into Conor’s eyes and says, “I no longer see you”. Why is Conor so affected with this? Why do you think Lily’s letter mattered to him, that it made everything “quiet”?

2. Why do you think Conor was wishing to be punished for what he did to Harry? Was the Headmaster right for not punishing him?

I have two (seemed) parallel answers for these, please bear with me.  First…

As absurd as it may seemed, Harry, his cohorts, and their bullying are the only normal things happening to Connor at the moment.  Everyone else around seemed to treat him like a fragile china doll.  Harry was the only person who sees him as Conor- the boy.   Harry was the only person who bothers to give him any attention.  So, when he said “I no longer see you” that bothered Conor terribly.  He’ll be invisible, like a virus in the air that nobody can see, yet everybody is being careful not to contract it just the same.


 Like I said before, Conor calls to be punished.  He is practically begging for it.  He sees himself as the villain in this story, but nobody thought him worthy to be punished.  People think that he is suffering enough.  He did made some tremendous effort beating up Harry just to be seen.  It’s like wearing a placard that says “I’m acting up, PEOPLE!”

Lily’s note made everything quiet for Conor, I think, because it meant “finally, someone bright enough to understand that I’m guilty.”

No, I think the Headmaster was wrong about that decision even if Conor’s action was a result of bullying.  Violence is never the answer/ solution against bullying.


3. “You be as angry as you need to be,” Conor’s mum said to him. What do you think about this statement? People often say that anger is unhealthy, but why does Conor’s mum say it’s okay to be that? 

Anger is a completely normal emotion related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to undo that by retaliation. 

Conor felt that he was greatly offended for being treated as a fragile being; wronged by judging him not guilty of anything; and was denied the right to judge the truth whether it be acceptable or not.  His mum encouraged retaliation because anger should be normal, not destructive. 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (An October Buddy Read- Part 3)

And so, the storytelling moves along.  The Monster came to tell his second story…

Part 3: FromAmericans Don’t Get Much HolidaystoNo Tale

1.In the monster’s second tale, the parson’s home was destroyed. Do you think it was the right thing for the monster to do, given his explanation?

In the second story, the Monster showed anger; not because he is a monster, but because he has good reasons to be.  Why wait when everything is already too late?  The Parson saw the evil of the apothecary, but was blind to what the apothecary can do.  The Parson, more than anyone else, should know that there is always good in everyone; and anyone deserves saving from their evil ways.  Instead, he turned everybody else against the apothecary and ruins his business.  That doesn’t win a soul; that did not make the apothecary see any better.  It was the Parson who waited too long to see the truth.


2.    Why do you think people find it easy to give up everything they believe in when times are harder? 

It depends, really.  If we, people, set our moral compass pointing to our own opinions, we are lost.  Our North should be pointing for the love of others.  When our opinions are unfounded, they are very easy to crumble; especially during trying times -escape will be our first option.  The Parson should have shown love and compassion to a lost soul, as with the apothecary; but instead, he battered the apothecary with his “so called” opinions.


3.    "Belief is the half of all healing. Belief is the cure, belief in the future that awaits." Do you think Conor had this kind of belief?

Ah, this one is difficult to arrive into.  Remember the quote “Time heals” ?  I think the Monster is saying that the future can heal Conor.  There will be anguish, pain and resentment; but Conor should give himself a chance to heal.  No, Conor doesn’t have that belief yet.


4.Why do you think his Grandmother reacted that way to Conor’s actions? What about his dad?

His grandmother’s reaction was the validation of what she knows.  She knows that there is turmoil broiling inside Conor, but she cannot do anything about it.  They are all denying Conor the capacity to face the truth, but she cannot over step from her role; besides the fact that she herself is churning inside.  Conor’s violence mirrors her feelings.  But Conor was far braver; he chose to show his anger, while his grandmother chose to cocoon herself.  And his dad chose to run away from all of it instead.

From Buddies:


bookish little me

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (An October Buddy Read- Part 2)

Within this part, we have a broader view of how the Monster wants things to move on. Although his true intentions were not clear yet, his instructions were clear… 3 stories it will be.  Meanwhile, we had a glimpse of Conor’s relationship with his dad.  The tundra between them is vast and solid.


Part 2: FromThe Wildness of StoriestoChamp

1.    Who is the hero in the monster’s first tale? Who is the villain? How does the story keep surprising Conor? What does Conor hope to learn from the story? What does he actually learn?

On one hand, we have a tyrant witch, but not a murder; on the other, we have a murderer for a prince, but not a tyrant.  How do we weigh evil exactly? Or goodness, for that matter?  In this story, the Monster chose not to look at the black or the white- he simply looked in-between for the greater good of all.

But of course, Conor was surprised.  He expects someone to be punished; there simply is no way he can accept the story to end that way.  Every story has a villain, and he himself chose one already.  What escapes Conor is not who deserves punishing or not; he cannot grasp the fact that some story doesn’t end the way he will want it.  Some ending serves a different purpose than what he intends; and he has to accept the facts of it. 

2.    While the monster was finishing the story, Conor asked him, “So how is that supposed to save me from her?” The monster replied, “It is not her you need saving from.” If it wasn’t Conor’s grandma, then who do you think the monster means? 

Conor needs to be saved from the villain within him –the one he chose from the very beginning.

3.Describe Conor’s relationship with his dad. Do you think it would have been easier for him to go through this if his parents weren’t divorced?

That’s the thing… you see, they do not have a relationship.  They know each other, they know they are related; but other than that they are estranged.  Yes, things may have been a lot easier if Conor had a relationship with both parents- a canoe is much stable with an outrigger on either side.  But, divorced or not, his dad should have had the good sense to establish a relationship with his son.

From Buddies:


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (An October Buddy Read)


As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming… .

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final story idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.

Hardcover, 215 pages

Published September 27th 2011 by Candlewick Press

ISBN: 1406311529 (ISBN13: 9781406311525)


Part 1 - A Monster Calls - Grandma

Part 2 - The Wildness of Stories - Champ

Part 3 -  Americans Don’t Get Much Holidays - No Tale

Part 4 -  I No Longer See You - 100 Years

Part 5 -  What’s the Use of You - The Truth

Part 1 - FromA Monster CallstoGrandma

1.    "You’re a good boy," Conor’s mother tells him. "I wish you didn’t have to be quite so good." (p. 17) What do you think she means by that? 

By quick assessment, one might think she meant that Conor is good because he is not a fussy boy.  He takes care of himself as much as he could (without bothering his mom); and helps around the house.  But I think, Conor’s mother was referring to the fact that Conor is acting as if everything is normal, that nothing‘s amiss.  There’s no accusing finger, or any difficult questions. She’s probably looking for some sign of rebellion from Conor; most teenagers do under pressure and huge problems. “Calm waters are usually deep and harder to swim,” as they say.

2.    Lily was once Conor’s closest friend but now he can’t forgive her. Why? Is he right to feel betrayed? 

[Limiting my answers from “School” and “Life Writing”,] this is one of the rebellion signs I was referring about.  Knowing that people know about your problems makes you feel vulnerable; and people who know your problems tends to treat you as one.  Pity is the precedent affection from people, which will either be rejected or accepted.  In Conor’s case, he rebels from it, even from his closest friend.  Anyone slapped with pity may feel betrayed.   Whether Conor is right to feel betrayed or not is irrelevant; he’s angry and he needs to vent it.  These are feelings he refuse to show at home.

3.    The monster talked about 4 stories, 3 from him and one from Conor. The one from Conor should be the truth. What do you think is this truth? (Feel free to speculate :D To those who’ve read this already, you can write what you first thought this truth was.) 

It’s curious that “Three Stories” comes right after “Life Writing”.  Curious because the monster is asking Conor for a true story, I presumed from his life.  When in anguish, it’s rather conflicting to tell all the truth about one’s life. 

My first speculation was the bullying.  My second guess was his unvoiced reaction to his parents’ divorce and his dad’s new family.  Conor has been keeping a lot of churning anger.

“You know that your truth, the one that you hide, Conor O’Malley, is the thing you are most afraid of.”

But it has to be something Conor’s afraid of.  So, my third speculation was that he’s afraid that his mom might die and he has to live with his grandmother, which he doesn’t want to talk about.

Read from Buddies:

bookish little me

My Own Little Corner

The Bookkeeper

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The Page Walker

Reading is my only vice.

a thought on each page

entrepreneur. lecturer. advocate for children

Sunday school teacher. editor-in-chief for local church paper

employed to Christ Jesus. worker for His ministry

wife. mother. friend

loves to cook. loves to travel. loves the beach. loves coffee

reads Historical Fiction. action-thrillers. YA/ Adult fiction

judge-1st Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards (2012)

likes tv series. the mentalist. the grimm. sherlock holmes. house. merlin. castle. leverage