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.