In Patrick Ness's A Monster Calls, how does Conor's relationship with the monster change throughout the course of the novel?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Conor first meets the monster, he believes the monster is his nemesis; however, over the course of the novel, the monster goes from being threatening to becoming a comfort to Conor as Conor faces his mother's impending death from cancer. When Conor first meets the monster, the monster is menacing: "the monster roared even louder and smashed an arm through Conor's window, shattering glass and wood and brick" (page 8). When Conor says he is not afraid of the monster, the monster replies, "You will be...Before the end" (page 9). Then, Conor remembers the monster trying to eat him alive before he wakes up from his nightmare. 

In the middle part of the book, the monster says that it wants to talk with Conor. When Conor asks the monster what it wants from him, the monster replies, mysteriously, "It's not what I want from you, Conor O'Malley...It is what you want from me" (page 34). Conor still feels strangely calm around the monster, even though he is having a nightmare. The monster tells Conor that it will tell him three stories and that Conor will tell him the fourth. The monster says, "You know that your truth, the one that you hide, is the truth that you are most afraid of, Conor O'Malley" (page 38). The truth that Conor hides is that his mother is sick with cancer and that Conor has no one around him to comfort him, as his relationships with his father and grandmother are not good.

In the end, after Conor tells his story, the monster comforts him. Even though Conor wants the monster to heal his mother, the monster says, "I did not come to heal her... I came to heal you" (page 193). By forcing him to listen to its stories and tell his own, the monster has healed Conor and prepared him for his mother's death.