A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls Irony

A Bully With Top Grades (Situational Irony)

Even though Harry terrorizes Conor daily, Harry is beloved by teachers and coaches. The narrator refers to Harry as "the Blond Wonder Child," whose hand is always the first in the air. In this way, Harry does not fit the common archetype of a bully. Because of the situational irony inherent to Harry's character, Harry can get away with his bullying by appearing charismatic and brilliant to the authority figures at the school.

But Conor Didn’t Run (Situational Irony)

Despite the potentially terrifying size and reality-defying presence of the yew tree monster, Conor is not frightened. Conor understands that the monster is real to him, and not a figment of his imagination, but Conor has no impulse to run. In this instance of situational irony, Conor does not react to the monster in the expected way because there is something Conor fears more: his mother's death. Conor's reaction to the monster is ironic because, as the narrator comments, "this wasn't the monster he was expecting."

Conor Lies to Miss Kwan (Situational Irony)

Lily sticks up for Conor after she sees Harry and his "cronies" bullying Conor. As the tension escalates, Sully refers to Conor's cancer and Lily pushes Sully into a shrubbery. Miss Kwan sees the push but is ignorant of the context that led to it. However, when Lily explains her reason, Conor lies to Miss Kwan and says the boys weren’t making fun of him. In this instance of situational irony, Conor undermines the reader's expectation by protecting the boys who are bullying him and allowing Lily, the one who defended him, to be punished.

Have a Little Talk (Verbal Irony)

Conor's life-writing assignment leads him to think about the most unpleasant events from his life. He recalls the afternoon when his mother told him "they needed to have a little talk." In this instance of verbal irony, Conor's mother uses understatement to diminish the seriousness of what turns out to be the discussion in which she informs Conor that she has cancer. To call it a "little talk" is ironic because it is in fact a life-altering talk.