What Does The Monster Symbolize in A Monster Calls: Unraveling the Deeper Meanings

Have you ever watched a movie and felt like there was more to the story than just what was shown on the surface? That’s exactly the case with “A Monster Calls.” At first glance, it’s a story about a young boy who’s dealing with his mother’s illness, but there’s a lot more symbolism hidden below the surface. In fact, the monster itself that the boy interacts with has countless layers of meaning that enrich the story.

So, what does the monster symbolize in “A Monster Calls?” Well, it’s a powerful manifestation of the emotions and fear that the young boy is experiencing. It represents his struggle to come to terms with the reality of life and death, and his grief over his mother’s illness. But it’s not just a symbol of sadness. The monster is also a force of guidance and hope, urging the boy to face his fears and grow stronger in the face of adversity.

Overall, “A Monster Calls” is a deeply moving and multi-layered story that has the power to touch anyone who’s ever experienced loss or struggle. And while the symbolism of the monster may seem complex at first, it’s truly the heart and soul of the story, giving us a powerful representation of the human experience in all its beauty and pain.

Emotional Turmoil of Grief

Dealing with grief is never easy, and Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls illustrates how it can be particularly difficult for children. The story portrays the journey of 13-year-old Conor as he copes with the terminal illness of his mother. The monster that visits Conor every night is a manifestation of his grief and suffering, and it represents different aspects of his inner turmoil.

  • Fear – The monster is a symbol of Conor’s deepest fear – the looming inevitability of his mother’s death. He fears the unknown and the idea of being alone without his mother.
  • Anger – Conor’s frustration and anger towards the senselessness of his mother’s illness and impending death are embodied by the monster. It represents his feelings of injustice and unfairness towards the situation.
  • Guilt – The monster is also a symbol of Conor’s guilt. The guilt he feels towards the possibility of wanting his mother’s suffering to end and the guilt he feels over his own past actions.

The monster in A Monster Calls is a powerful illustration of how grief can take a physical and emotional toll on an individual, particularly a young person. The story shows us that it’s okay to feel these complex emotions and that it’s essential to express them. Ignoring or suppressing grief creates bigger problems.

Grief comes in stages and cycles, sometimes hitting all at once like a wave, and sometimes creeping up slowly, eating away at everything. Below is a table illustrating the stages of grief that Conor goes through in the story:

Stage of Grief Description
Denial Refusing to accept the reality of his mother’s illness and impending death.
Anger Being angry at the unfairness of the situation.
Bargaining Trying to negotiate with the situation, such as making deals with the monster or praying for his mother’s recovery.
Depression Feeling sad and hopeless about the situation, sinking into a deep depression.
Acceptance Reaching some level of peace about the situation, and being able to let go.

Grieving is a natural and necessary part of the healing process, and it is essential to express and acknowledge those emotions. Doing so allows individuals to come to terms with the situation, process their feelings, and move forward. A Monster Calls is a beautiful and important story that shows how the journey through grief is tough, but it is ultimately necessary for healing and growth.

Fear of Abandonment

In “A Monster Calls,” the main character Conor experiences a deep fear of abandonment, which is linked to his mother’s illness and the possibility of losing her. Conor’s fear is a common theme explored in many works of literature, as it taps into a primal human emotion of losing the ones we love.

  • Conor’s fear of abandonment is evident early on in the book. His nightmares about his mother and her illness reflect his anxiety about being left alone and losing her. He is also afraid of his father leaving him and having to move away, further fueling his fears of abandonment.
  • The monster in the book represents Conor’s fears and anxieties, which he is unable to confront on his own. The monster comes to Conor at night and tells him stories that explore the complexities of human emotions, including the fear of losing loved ones.
  • Through the course of the book, Conor learns to confront his fears and accept the inevitability of his mother’s death. At the same time, he also realizes that he is not alone and that he has the love and support of his grandmother, father, and friends.

The fear of abandonment is a powerful emotion that can have a lasting impact on a person’s psyche. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues if not addressed properly. In “A Monster Calls,” Conor’s journey towards acceptance and understanding is a reminder that we can overcome our fears and find strength in the face of adversity.

Overall, the monster in “A Monster Calls” symbolizes Conor’s fear of abandonment and the complexity of human emotions. Through the monster’s stories and Conor’s journey towards acceptance, we are shown the power of love, compassion, and resilience in the face of tragedy.

Coping Mechanisms for Dealing with Loss

Dealing with loss is never easy, but it’s a necessary part of life. Coping mechanisms are essential in helping us navigate these challenging times without completely falling apart. A Monster Calls offers a glimpse into the complex world of grief and loss, giving us insight into the various coping mechanisms people use to deal with these situations. Here are three essential coping mechanisms for dealing with loss:

  • Acceptance
  • Talking about the loss
  • Creativity and Expression


The first stage of grief is often denial, and it’s easy to see why — accepting that your loved one is gone is incredibly difficult. But acceptance is crucial in moving forward. In A Monster Calls, the monster tells Conor that he must accept the truth. This is a powerful message that resonates with anyone who has gone through the grieving process. Acceptance doesn’t mean forgetting or letting go of the memories of your loved one. Instead, it means acknowledging the loss and finding ways to live with it.

Talking About the Loss

Another essential coping mechanism for dealing with loss is to talk about it. Often, people feel ashamed or like a burden for sharing their feelings with others. But talking about your loss can be incredibly healing. Conor initially struggles to talk about his mother’s illness, but he eventually opens up to the monster. Through their conversations, Conor begins to process his emotions and understand his mother’s situation from a different perspective. Talking about the loss can also help you connect with others who may be going through a similar experience.

Creativity and Expression

When words fail, creativity and expression can be powerful tools in coping with loss. Conor is a talented artist, and he uses this skill to deal with his emotions. Art therapy and other creative outlets offer ways to express feelings that may be difficult to articulate. Conor’s drawings in A Monster Calls are a beautiful representation of the emotions he’s experiencing. Whether writing, painting, or creating music, creative expression can help channel emotions and offer a therapeutic outlet.


Coping with loss is never easy, but it’s essential to find ways to move forward. Acceptance, talking about the loss, and creativity and expression are just a few coping mechanisms that can help. A Monster Calls offers a poignant portrayal of these coping strategies, showing us how they can be used to navigate the complexities of loss and grief.

Acceptance Talking about the Loss Creativity and Expression
Crucial in moving forward Helps process emotions Allows for a therapeutic outlet
Doesn’t mean forgetting memories Facilitates connection with others Offers ways to express difficult feelings
Important step in dealing with loss Can be healing Channel emotions and bring clarity

Difficulty of Accepting Reality

One of the main themes of A Monster Calls is the difficulty of accepting reality, especially when it involves tragic circumstances. The monster in the story symbolizes the harsh truth that the protagonist, Conor, must face about his mother’s deteriorating health and eventual death.

  • Initially, Conor refuses to accept that his mother is dying and instead retreats into a fantasy world where the monster provides an escape from reality.
  • As the story progresses, however, the monster forces Conor to confront his deepest fears and emotions, ultimately helping him come to terms with reality and allowing him to begin the healing process.
  • The monster also represents the emotional turmoil and confusion that often accompany tragic events, showing how difficult it can be to make sense of the situation and come to a place of acceptance.

The following table shows some of the key symbols associated with the monster in A Monster Calls and how they relate to the theme of accepting reality:

Symbol Meaning
The yew tree Represents the harsh truth that Conor must confront about his mother’s illness and eventual death
The monster’s stories Provide a way for Conor to process his emotions and come to a place of acceptance
The monster’s physical appearance Represents the turmoil and confusion that Conor experiences as he grapples with reality

Overall, the monster in A Monster Calls serves as a powerful symbol of the difficulty of accepting reality, especially when it involves tragic circumstances. Through Conor’s journey, we see how challenging it can be to come to terms with the harsh truths of life, but also how important it is to face these realities in order to begin the healing process.

Importance of Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful tool that has been used for centuries to convey important messages and lessons. In “A Monster Calls,” the monster plays the role of a storyteller, sharing the tale of the yew tree and its transformation into a monster. This leaves readers wondering what the monster symbolizes in the story.

  • The monster symbolizes Conor’s inner turmoil and emotions that he is unable to express or process.
  • The monster represents the truth that Conor is avoiding and helps him to confront it.
  • The monster is a representation of grief and loss that Conor is experiencing.

Through the monster’s stories, Conor is able to confront his fears and emotions and begin to heal. This highlights the importance of storytelling in our lives, as it provides a means of expressing and processing difficult emotions.

Additionally, storytelling is a means of preserving culture, passing down traditions, and imparting knowledge. It has the ability to transcend time and connect people across generations and cultures.

Benefits of Storytelling Examples
A means of expressing emotions and processing difficult experiences “A Monster Calls,” “The Fault in Our Stars”
Preserving culture and traditions The oral traditions of indigenous peoples
Teaching moral lessons and imparting knowledge Aesop’s Fables, “The Little Prince”

Storytelling has the power to transform individuals and society, making it an important tool for communication and personal growth.

Identity and Self-Discovery

In A Monster Calls, the monster symbolizes the protagonist Conor’s unresolved emotions and his struggle with identity and self-discovery. He is a 13-year-old boy who has lost his mother to cancer and is having a tough time coping with his grief. Conor feels like he is losing control of his life and is struggling to understand his emotions, which is where the monster comes in.

The monster represents Conor’s innermost thoughts and feelings that he is too afraid to confront. It forces him to face the truth about his mother’s illness and his own guilt and anger in response to it. Through his interactions with the monster, Conor begins to unravel the complexities of his identity and understand who he truly is.

  • The Monster Symbolizes the Complexity of Identity: Conor is at an age where he is still figuring out who he is and what he wants to be. The monster represents the complexity of identity and how it is not always straightforward. Conor’s conflicting emotions towards his mother’s illness and her death make it hard for him to reconcile his own identity.
  • The Monster Represents Self-Discovery: Conor’s journey is about self-discovery, and the monster plays a significant role in that. The monster helps Conor face his fears, confront his emotions and ultimately accept his mother’s death. Through his journey with the monster, Conor discovers his inner strength and learns to trust his instincts.
  • Conor’s Relationship with the Monster: Conor initially fears the monster but gradually develops a relationship with it. Conor realizes that the monster is not just a figment of his imagination but a representation of his innermost thoughts and feelings. The monster challenges Conor to face his emotions and understand his identity, which ultimately helps him come to terms with his mother’s death and find inner peace.

The table below summarizes how the monster symbolizes identity and self-discovery in A Monster Calls

Symbolism of the Monster Representations
Identity Conor’s innermost thoughts and feelings that he is struggling to confront
Self-Discovery Conor’s journey to understanding his emotions and accepting his mother’s death
Conor’s Relationship with the Monster A challenging and transformative relationship that helps Conor discover his own strengths and come to terms with his emotions

Overall, A Monster Calls uses the monster as a metaphor for Conor’s identity and self-discovery. The author expertly weaves in these themes throughout the story, helping the reader understand the importance of confronting your emotions and accepting yourself for who you are.

Connection between art and emotions

Art and emotions have always had a close relationship. Many artists create their work as a way to express their feelings, opinions, and experiences. Art has the ability to evoke emotions in the viewer, and it serves as a tool for communication, self-expression, and therapy.

Patrick Ness, the author of A Monster Calls, uses art as a prominent theme in the book to symbolize the emotions felt by the main character, Conor. Throughout the story, Conor is struggling with the impending loss of his mother to cancer. He is unable to openly communicate his feelings and is instead plagued by nightmares and the appearance of a monster.

  • The monster in A Monster Calls represents Conor’s fear, pain, and anger.
  • Conor’s drawings and illustrations represent his desire for control and his attempt at creating a solution for his mother’s illness.
  • The stories that the monster tells Conor represent his need for understanding and acceptance of the inevitable.

Ness uses these artistic mediums to allow Conor to confront and process his emotions in a creative and therapeutic way. Conor’s artwork serves as an extension of himself, allowing him to express the feelings that he cannot put into words and providing him with a sense of comfort and control.

Furthermore, Ness also emphasizes the power of art in the form of storytelling. The monster in the book tells Conor three stories, each with a moral lesson and a message tailored to his situation. Through the stories, Conor is able to gain perspective and acceptance of his situation, ultimately allowing him to heal and move forward.

Artistic Medium Emotion/Theme Symbolized
Monster Fear, Pain, and Anger
Drawings/Illustrations Desire for Control and Creating a Solution
Monster’s Stories Understanding and Acceptance

In conclusion, A Monster Calls serves as an example of the connection between art and emotions. Ness effectively uses artistic mediums, such as drawings and storytelling, to symbolize Conor’s emotions and provide him with a creative outlet for processing his feelings. Through art, Conor ultimately finds understanding and acceptance, allowing him to heal and move forward from his grief.

Role of Truth and Honesty in Relationships

The novel A Monster Calls written by Patrick Ness portrays the powerful symbol of a monster that represents the harsh reality of truth and honesty in relationships. Throughout the story, the monster pushes the main character, Conor, to confront the truth about his emotions and the situation with his terminally ill mother. The symbol of the monster represents not only the fear of facing truth but also the necessity of honesty in any relationship.

  • Truth as a foundation of trust: Honesty is the foundation of any healthy relationship, as it helps build trust and emotional connection. The importance of truth is evident in the interaction between the monster and Conor, where the monster makes it clear that it will tell Conor three stories, but in return, Conor must tell the monster about his recurring nightmare, which he has kept hidden from everyone.
  • Self-deception and denial: Denial and self-deception are common aspects that hinder honest communication in relationships. Conor’s denial about his mother’s impending death and the associated guilt about wanting it to end highlights the emotional turmoil one goes through when facing the harsh truth.
  • Difficult conversations: Truth and honesty in relationships often result in difficult conversations that are uncomfortable to discuss. Conor’s relationship with his father, who has moved away with a new family, represents the feeling of abandonment that often accompanies difficult conversations. However, these conversations are necessary for the growth and understanding of the relationship.

The following table depicts the stages of grief that Conor experiences after accepting the truth about his mother’s impending death:

Stage Description
Denial Conor refuses to acknowledge his mother’s terminal illness and maintains the hope for her recovery.
Anger Conor feels extreme anger and resentment towards the unfairness of the situation and the helplessness he feels.
Bargaining Conor feels the need to bargain with events and people in his life to avoid the pain of loss.
Depression Conor becomes depressed and withdraws from social interactions and the world around him.
Acceptance Conor comes to terms with his mother’s illness and finds peace in the inevitable outcome.

In conclusion, the novel A Monster Calls portrays the crucial role of truth and honesty in any relationship. The symbol of the monster in the story represents the fear and resistance that humans often have towards accepting the truth. Honest communication in relationships helps build trust and understanding, and while difficult, it is necessary for growth and strength of the connection between people.

The Power of Imagination and Fantasy

In the novel A Monster Calls, the monster symbolizes many complex and interrelated topics, including loss, grief, and healing. However, one of the most profound interpretations of the monster is its connection to the power of imagination and fantasy.

The protagonist of the story, Conor, is a young boy on the cusp of adolescence who is struggling to come to terms with his mother’s terminal illness. His internal pain and turmoil are symbolized by his encounters with the monster, which serves as a representation of his unconscious mind.

The monster encourages Conor to confront his emotions through his imagination, allowing him to explore and process his feelings in a safe and non-judgmental way. Through their encounters, Conor is able to face his fears and ultimately come to a place of acceptance, healing, and understanding.

  • One of the most fascinating aspects of this dynamic is the way in which imagination and fantasy are portrayed as powerful tools for healing and growth.
  • The novel suggests that by engaging with our imaginations, we are capable of accessing a deeper level of understanding and insight into our own lives and emotions.
  • Furthermore, it illustrates how our imaginations can facilitate a more profound connection with others, allowing us to explore and express our feelings in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Overall, A Monster Calls is a powerful illustration of the transformative power of imagination and fantasy, and the ways in which they can be harnessed for healing and growth.

As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression, I have found that engaging with my own imagination and fantasy has been an incredibly valuable tool in my own journey towards healing and self-discovery. Whether through writing, reading, or simply daydreaming, I have found that the act of engaging with my own imagination has allowed me to access deeper levels of insight and creativity, and has helped me to develop a more nuanced understanding of myself and the world around me.

Benefits of Imagination and Fantasy Examples from A Monster Calls
Allows for exploration of complex emotions in a safe and non-judgmental way Conor’s interactions with the monster allow him to confront his deepest fears and emotions without fear of judgment or retribution
Facilitates deeper levels of empathy and emotional connection with others Conor’s journey allows him to develop a deep understanding of his mother’s pain and the impact of her illness on their family
Fosters creativity and innovation The novel itself is a testament to the power of imagination and creativity, and the ways in which they can be used to develop powerful and impactful works of art

Overall, A Monster Calls is a beautiful and moving exploration of the complex and interrelated themes of loss, grief, healing, and imagination. Through its portrayal of the monster, it offers a powerful reminder of the transformative power of our own imaginations, and the ways in which they can be harnessed to help us navigate even the most difficult and painful of experiences.

Understanding the complexity of emotions and experiences

A Monster Calls is a powerful novel that explores complex themes through the journey of a young boy dealing with loss and grief. At the heart of the story is the monster, a symbol that represents a range of emotions and experiences that the main character, Conor, must confront.

  • The monster symbolizes the overwhelming grief and pain that Conor feels after his mother’s diagnosis.
  • It also represents the fear and anger that Conor experiences as he struggles to come to terms with the possibility of losing his mother.
  • The monster can also be seen as a symbol of Conor’s guilt and regret as he grapples with his own sense of responsibility for his mother’s illness.

Through Conor’s interactions with the monster, the novel portrays the complex nature of grief and the different ways in which people cope with loss. The monster’s presence in the story helps readers understand that dealing with emotions like grief and loss is not a straightforward process.

One of the key messages of the novel is that it is important to acknowledge and confront difficult emotions in order to move forward. Conor’s journey demonstrates that avoiding or denying painful emotions can ultimately lead to more suffering.

Emotion/Experience Monster Symbolism
Grief and Pain The monster’s destructive power reflects the overwhelming nature of grief.
Fear and Anger The monster’s menacing appearance represents Conor’s fear and anger towards his mother’s illness.
Guilt and Regret The monster’s demand for truth reflects Conor’s struggle with his own sense of responsibility for his mother’s condition.

A Monster Calls is a powerful exploration of the complexity of emotions and experiences that arise from dealing with loss and grief. Through the symbol of the monster, the novel portrays the importance of acknowledging and confronting difficult emotions in order to move forward.

What Does the Monster Symbolize in A Monster Calls?

1. What is the monster in A Monster Calls?
The monster in A Monster Calls is a representation of the protagonist’s fears and emotions.

2. What does the monster symbolize?
The monster symbolizes the internal struggles that we face when dealing with difficult emotions.

3. Why is the monster a tree?
The monster is a tree because it represents the protagonist’s connection to nature and their environment.

4. What does the monster’s appearance signify?
The monster’s appearance changes throughout the story to reflect the protagonist’s emotions, representing the ever-changing nature of our internal battles.

5. Is the monster evil?
No, the monster is not evil. It may be intimidating and frightening, but ultimately it serves as a helpful guide for the protagonist.

6. What does the monster teach the protagonist?
The monster teaches the protagonist about the power of storytelling and facing one’s fears.

7. What is the overall message of A Monster Calls?
The overall message of A Monster Calls is that it is important to acknowledge and confront our inner struggles in order to heal and move forward.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for taking the time to learn about what the monster symbolizes in A Monster Calls. This story is a powerful reminder of the necessity of facing our fears and emotions in order to grow and heal. We hope you visit again soon for more engaging content!