A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls Literary Elements


Fantasy; young-adult fiction.

Setting and Context

The story is set in a British town in the present day.

Narrator and Point of View

The novel is narrated by an unnamed, third-person limited omniscient narrator; the point of view stays with Conor.

Tone and Mood

The tone is scary; the mood is tense.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Conor O'Malley is the protagonist; the antagonists include Harry, Lily, Grandma, and the monster.

Major Conflict

The novel's major conflict is that Conor is unwilling to accept his mother's terminal cancer diagnosis and so lives in a state of isolation and anger.


The novel reaches its climax when Conor tells the monster the truth of his dream, in which he allows his mother to slip from his grasp; in this moment, he learns that it is okay to let her go and that he can't keep her alive.



When Conor first learns of his mother's cancer diagnosis, his mother understates the seriousness of the discussion she would like to have by telling Conor that they need to have "a little talk."





Metonymy and Synecdoche