The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Who is the narrator of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time? What do you like / dislike about his choice of narrator? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this choice of narrator?

Christopher John Francis Boone is the narrator of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. He is fifteen years old and only possesses certain interests. This is because he has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a development disorder related to autism and intellectual ability coupled with impaired social skills and restrictive, repetitive patterns of interests and activities. For example, he only likes prime numbers. For this reason the book starts at chapter 2 and continues up in prime numbers, 3, 5, 7, etc… he is very intelligent and has an interest in mathematics and space. He likes the color red; however, dislikes yellow and brown. Mark Haddon, the author of this novel, shows a certain interest in Christopher’s character. He writes the book in the perspective of a fifteen year old boy and; therefore, includes run-on phrases to make it sound or feel realistic and truthful. Christopher’s actions and behaviors are very interesting, like how he screams when someone touches him or comes close to him. He says that he doesn’t know how to tell jokes when he is actually making us laugh because of the weird things he says. Haddon in cooperated many strengths for his choice of narrator.

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Do you like the fact that the book is written in the perspective of Christopher Francis Boone? If you don’t, then which character would you choose that would be a good narrator for this book? Has Christopher’s character changed over the course of the novel? 

Christopher John Francis Boone is a fifteen year old boy who possesses Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s Syndrome is a disability where you notice certain patterns in the person’s behavior. He is special in his own way. I find that his character doesn’t change in many ways since he is the same person when he sees the dead dog, compared to when he finds all the letters written to him from his so called ‘mother who died from a heart attack in a normal hospital and was cremated’. I do think; however, that he has a different thought process, for example, when he doesn’t understand what someone is saying, he just walks away. When Christopher said he doesn’t lie I found it hard to believe. But after reading the novel, I realized that he was right. He didn’t lie, he told many white lies. This is when you tell the truth, but you do not tell all of the truth.

I am like Christopher in a few ways. I tell white lies so I don’t have to give away all the little details. I also like and dislike certain colors, for example, I like green and blue and dislike gray. There is no particular reason to why I don’t like or dislike these colors. There are also some ways in which I am different from Christopher. Like him, I don’t role on the floor and groan if I am asked too many questions and I certainly don’t scream and hit a person if they touch me.

His jokes were continuous, though he himself didn’t know he was making jokes. He stated that he doesn’t know how to joke. He mentioned one joke that he found funny, but we, as readers didn’t understand, “His face was drawn but the curtains were real.” (Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) His actions seem constant throughout the course of the novel. Whenever he is asked too many questions, too fast, he groans very loudly and roles back and forth on the floor.

His emotions are controlled, except for when he finds out that his own father, Ed, killed Wellington, Mrs. Shears’ dog. He starts to fear his father and leaves him to go and live with his mother. Christopher’s role is very different from characters in other novels. Haddon’s words sound real when coming out of Christopher. Overall, I believe that his character doesn’t change all that much because he possesses features that will be with him his whole life.

Why did Christopher’s father hide the truth about Christopher’s mother? How does this affect your response to Christopher’s father?

Christopher’s father hid those letters that were from Christopher’s mother because his father didn’t want him to find out about his mother and the fact that she was still alive. Christopher’s father lied when he said, “It was an accident.” (The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Page 114) It wasn’t really an accident since he had had those letters for ages in his closet but never bothered to show Christopher the letters.

I think that his father wanted Christopher to forget about his mother because she ‘died of a heart attack’ and was too young to understand these types of situations. His father said that he was just trying to protect him, which I understand because his mother ran away. However, I don’t think that it is right to lie. He should have told Christopher that his mother went away and would never come back. At least then, Christopher might understand or at least try to understand why she went away. This one truth could have changed the whole end of the story. If there was no lie, Christopher might not have gone to live with his mother.

Christopher has a very distinctive way of retelling conversations. Describe his technique with references to the text. Why does he retell conversations this way, and what is the effect?

‘My memory is like a film… because my memory has a smelltrack which is like a soundtrack.’ (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Page 76) He is really good at remembering things, like conversations which he then wrote in his book. He also knew what those people were wearing, as well as what they smelled like. He caught small things like if they had a walking stick, or certain type of glasses, or if they had a particular way of moving their arms. He said that he would do a SEARCH through his memory to see if he knows the person. He also states that when people ask him to remember something, he simply presses REWIND and FAST FORWARD and PAUSE in his mind. I find that very fascinating. It would be so much fun to go through all your old memories with just a click of a button.

When Christopher rewinds to a certain time, he knows the place and the exact date. For example, ‘I could REWIND to 4 July 1992 when I was 9 years old, which was a Saturday, and we were on a holiday in Cornwall and in the afternoon we were on the beach in a place called Polperro.’ (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Page 77) Would you ever be able to remember such a moment in great detail? I know that I certainly wouldn’t!

When he retells the story this way, it shows that he is very smart since he has such a good memory. It also shows us how he feels about these small moments; happy or sad. I find that Christopher’s way of retelling stories is really interesting and intriguing.

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