The “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” authored by Mark Haddon focuses on the protagonist Christopher Boone and the challenges he experiences through his encounters with new places and interactions. Christopher, an autistic child resides in Swindon with his father. Christopher wakes up around midnight and notices the next-door neighbor’s dog lying on the ground. He decides to examine what happened and soon realizes that the dog was dead. Considering his fascination with murder mystery novels, he decides to document his murder mystery novel that he commences with the discovery of Wellington’s mystery murder. The narrative demonstrates the protagonist’s experiences while he attempts to solve the mystery. Throughout the account; the author utilizes various elements of fiction to represent the diverse interpretations of the implications and delivery of content to the reader.
Autism, language, and communication
Christopher’s condition influences his communication and interactions with other individuals. Even though his IQ performance is average, his disorder interferes with significant interactions. He expresses himself straightforwardly and experiences challenges when comprehending commonly accepted modes of signaling (Ray, 2013). Moreover, he asserts that he does find people confusing because they utilize signals when communicating and because they also use metaphors. He requires greater attention compared to individuals who are not suffering from the disorder (Freißmann, 2008). As evidenced from the first half of the novel, his interactions are limited to people he is familiar with that are aware of his condition. On several occasions, he has emotional outbursts, and he avoids any physical touch. Those close to him had to learn to implement ways they can communicate. He also fails to comprehend different facial expressions and what they mean. Even when he goes further to expand his interactions, they happen to be frustrating. Once he was detained for striking a police officer who touched him. In spite of his multiple talents, the majority of his acquaintances fail to accommodate him. Nevertheless, when he moves to England, he also expands the extent of his interactions. He becomes more exposed and meets more people. Christopher influences individuals to reassess their relationship with language so that what they communicate is a direct reflection of their thoughts and feelings, instead of borrowed means of expression.
The theme of the detective account emanates from the outset. Christopher seeks to determine the murderer of Mrs. Shears’ dog. From the title itself, Christopher’s detective account is evident. However, he uncovers mysterious information concerning his life and family that he was unaware of (Haddon, 2004). Initially, Christopher is assured of complete control of the investigation since he believes he is an outsider seeking to obtain information that does not involve him at all. He later realizes that he is in fact involved in the investigation, and he is not in control anymore. Whereas it is discovered that Christopher’s father murdered the dog, Christopher further realizes that he had been continually fed with false information regarding his mother’s demise. His detective work extends to his perspective of the world and reaction towards it. His consistent analysis and logical coherence throughout the entire novel enable readers to realize his struggles, understand him, and empathize with him. Moreover, readers understand the main character’s hidden talents comprehensively through his detective work.
Narrator’s point of view
The theme of the narrator’s point of view is evident throughout the text. All the content in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is perceived from Christopher’s outlook. From the beginning of the novel, the author, Haddon acknowledges that the novel that Christopher writes is the one the reader has. Consequently, the reader captures the main character’s perceptions, feelings, and ambitions; thus feeling closer to him than all the other characters. His perceptions allow the reader to discover his challenges, including the impacts of social disorder on his communication and language. Reading Christopher’s view on the world enhances readers’ empathy for him and opens one’s mind to the possibility of perceiving the world at a different spectrum. How Christopher uncovers several complex truths, such as that his mother is alive and the murderer of the dog is revealed logically to the reader. Further, his logic impacts everything in the text forcing the reader to assess himself or herself as well.
This book’s setting is in Swindon, an English town. Common English foodstuffs such as tea and crumpets are mentioned. When Christopher travels to other places, he appears to be unaware of the English culture that he presumes as indistinct. However, he mentions his one-time visit to France that he found rather unexciting. He watches English-related content, including David Attenborough’s show (Haddon, 2007). His mother reads him Princess Diana’s biography, and his father insists on watching a football match between Romania and England. Prior to his travels, Christopher is restricted either at home or school, the shop, or the street. He seems familiar with these contexts that he is accustomed to visiting. However, once Christopher moves to new places, he attempts to acclimatize to the environs that are more complicated compared to his hometown in England. He describes that the structures, including the train subways, are more advanced. His visit to London is overwhelming with all its significant developments. The main character’s middle-class, suburban life offers a notable contrast to London, which is congested and too noisy for Christopher’s needs. He discovers that his mother’s residence is quite small to contain a garden. As the narrative nears its conclusion, Christopher utilizes his free time to learn the diverse landscapes within England.
The tone of the book combines candid and detachment aspects. On several occasions, the main character reports his observations and thoughts with little emotions or lyricism, creating a sense of distant humor. For example, he claims that he found dogs more interesting than several people he interacts with. The tone he invokes is cold, representing his nature as unsentimental and unconcerned. He generally hates talking or chatting and avoids physical contact. He does not identify other people’s emotions, and he never realizes when they are angry with him. Furthermore, his entire attitude is quite distant. Despite Christopher’s emotional withdrawal through the text, the people closest to him appear receptive and understanding. They make efforts to try to understand his perceptions of the world.
Christopher is the 15-year-old narrator of the novel. The novel is focused on his point of view. He likely suffers from a social disorder considering his communication and language challenges. Moreover, he despises any interactions and prefers to work alone. It is evident that he perceives and handles issues differently compared to other individuals (Stephens, 2018). He performs well in science and mathematics and intends to take the Maths A level exam, enroll in a higher learning institution, and become a scientist. He is a dynamic character because through the course of the novel, he experiences life changes that force him to reevaluate his relationships with those close to him. Consequently, he integrates personal development and empowers himself, and at the conclusion of the book, he appears certain and more equipped to encounter his adult life than he had previously. His character portrays the challenges experienced by those individuals suffering from social disorders, how to overcome barriers and endure through the obstacles.
Ed, Christopher’s father, manages a heating maintenance and boiler repair business. Even though Judy (Christopher’s mother) thinks of him as being calm with Christopher, he murders Wellington out of anger. He also frequently becomes angry with Christopher, especially when he investigates the murder. Ed advocates for his son to pursue his education, including the Maths A level, and he tries not to interfere with his life. For instance, he allows Christopher to eat what he wants. He is a dynamic character willing to change and become better for his son. He tries to build trust with his son; however, he fails his son when he lies to him about his mother, about the dog, and his affair with Mrs. Shears. While he tries to start a life with Mrs. Shears after Judy leaves, their relationship does not work out. This causes him to become bitter. Ed’s character through the entire book demonstrates the challenges of a father with a child with social dysfunction and the efforts he implements to ensure that his son is successful.
Judy works as a secretary. Her son, Christopher believes that she was dead because his father had been hiding her letters from him. Judy felt that Ed could take better care of their son and so she fled with Mr. Shears. She is also a dynamic character since she regrets her decisions, which she acknowledges in her letters. When Christopher arrives abruptly in her London apartment, she seems shocked to discover that he believed she was dead and recognizes that she has to become more active in her son’s life. She rents a house in Swindon where she stays with her son. Her character depicts the significance of realizing one’s mistakes and addressing those mistakes.
Siobhan is Christopher’s teacher whom he trusts. She is significant as she aids Christopher in comprehending individuals’ behaviors and actions (Kidd et.al., 2016). She further educates him on how his mind functions. The teacher is a static character that consistently guides her student’s writing and assigns him various writing tasks while providing him essential instruction on his book as he proceeds.
Mrs. Alexander is Christopher’s neighbor. She is kind to him, and she expresses interest in his life. She later invites him for tea after their first encounter. Mrs. Alexander shows a willingness to interact with him. Afterward, Christopher meets with her at the corner store where she informs him about his mother’s affair with Mr. Shears.
Roger Shears is the man Judy runs away with to London. Initially, Christopher suspects that Mr. Shears killed Wellington due to his bad relationship with his former wife. However, he later discovers that he was not the murderer. Mr. Shears refuses to welcome Christopher when he visits, and this causes Judy to leave him.
Mrs. Shears is Wellington’s owner. She is a static character who is regularly unsympathetic to Christopher, especially after Wellington’s death. She provided Ed with assistance after Judy left, but she was against Ed’s proposal for a relationship.