Possible spoilers below.
Part 2 – From The Wildness of Stories to Champ
In the next chapters, the monster tells Conor his first story. We read of a tale of a prince, a witch and a farm girl, of a villain who isn’t quite what she seems. This first tale surprises Conor in such a way that it leaves him more confused.
Conor’s dad from arrives from America, and he wishes for him to be more approachable. But Conor’s dad is estranged and offers little comfort to his son.
1. Who is the hero in the monster’s first tale? Who is the villain? How does the story keep surprising Conor? What does Conor hope to learn from the story? What does he actually learn?
When I first read the story, I expected the same thing as everyone who’s read it: that there is a clearly defined hero and villain. So color me surprised too when the story was twisted. Like what everyone else had said in the discussion, Conor was expecting the monster to provide him straight answers, but the monster doesn’t work that way.
This tells us that life is rarely in black and white. People are rarely ever plain good or simply evil — we are more complicated than that. In every “evil” person there’s some good and in every good person, they have junk, too.
2. While the monster was finishing the story, Conor asked him, “So how is that supposed to save me from her?” The monster replied, “It is not her you need saving from.” If it wasn’t Conor’s grandma, then who do you think the monster means?
I think it’s pretty obvious that Conor needs saving from himself. While Conor knows that his mom was sick, I don’t think he’s ever really accepted that. Denial is a strong defense mechanism and I think it tends to keep people in a cage, or at least, blind them with what they need to see. I think Conor needs to see that he needs to save himself from his denial, and not from his grandma.
3. Describe Conor’s relationship with his dad. Do you think it would have been easier for him to go through this if his parents weren’t divorced?
Their relationship was awkward. I do think Conor wanted to get to know his dad even if he wasn’t close to him — there were those moments when Conor seemed to want to talk to his dad more, especially now that things were starting to get worse.
I’d like to believe that their strained relationship is an effect of the divorce. I’ve always believed that quality time is one of the things that builds relationships, and that’s what Conor and his dad lacked. As for making it easier, I think it would still depend on how his dad would handle the ordeal. I don’t have any experience to speak of (and I pray not to have that), but from what I’ve seen and read, people react differently to diseases, especially with cancer. However, I know that with whatever challenge, it’s always better when you have someone by your side.