The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
FIRST YEAR OF PUBLICATION
NUMBER OF PAGES
Christopher John Francis Boone: He’s 15 years old and he suffers from Asperger's Syndrome. He has a photographic memory. He is a whiz at math and enjoys puzzles. What he can't understand are other human beings. He knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7.057. He hates being touched, cannot tell a lie, or understand metaphors or jokes. He lives with his father and has been told that his mother died of a heart-attack. One day, he finds his neighbour’s dog, Wellington, lying dead on the lawn with a garden fork sticking out of it. He decides to track down the killer and write a murder mystery novel about it. He seizes upon it as a puzzle and math problem in hopes of understanding something that makes no sense to him. In doing so, however, he uncovers other mysteries that threaten to bring his whole world crashing down around him. He’s the main-character and the narrator of this novel.
Father: He’s been raising Christopher on his own since the day his wife left him for his neighbour. He told Christopher that she died of a heart attack. He hides the letters from Christopher’s mother from Christopher.
Mother: She lives in London with Mr. Shears. She’s been writing many letters to Christopher since the day she left them, but she doesn’t know that Christopher hasn’t received a single one.
a. The story takes place partly in Swindon and partly in London. Christopher and his dad live in Swindon. When he founds out that his father is the killer of the dog and that he lied to him about his mother, he gets scared and decides to go to live with his mother in London.
b. It isn't clear when this story takes place, but you can conclude that it’s during this decade because of the descriptions of London. The book was published for the first time just last year.
The subject of this book is autism. It shows how difficult it is for an autistic person to function in this society.
In the book Christopher tries to investigate who murdered Wellington, the neighbour’s dog. So he tries to solve the “curious incident”. He loves Sherlock Holmes and one of the passages in Conan Doyles’ book “Silver Blaze” is: "Is there any other point to which you would like to draw my attention?" "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." "The dog did nothing in the night-time." "That was the curious incident." In that book a horse has been stolen but the dog didn’t bark, so the thief must have been familiar to the dog.
Christopher, an autistic boy, discovers that the neighbour’s dog, Wellington, is dead. The dog belonged to Mr and Mrs Shears. The boy decides to investigate who killed the dog and to write a detective book about it. The police say they won’t investigate the case. The boy was aggressive towards the police officer, so they had to take him away to the police station. Later his father comes to take him home. Christopher tells his father he intends to find out who killed the dog, but father is against it. Siobhan, his teacher at the special school, encourages him to write the book. His father doesn’t know about it. He begins to be a “detective ” in spite of what his father told him. Although Christopher is very afraid of the strangers, he puts himself together and asks some of his neighbours if they knew who killed the dog. One of the neighbours, Mrs Alexander, is very friendly to him and she invites him in for a drink, but Christopher gets scared soon and runs away.
Christopher wants to prove that he is clever and because he is very good at math he wants to take an A-level in math. Christopher’s father gets a call from Mrs Shears. She tells him that his son was in her garden. Christopher explains why he went to Mrs Shears. He says it’s because Mr Shears is the prime suspect because he was divorced from Mrs Shears, so he could have killed the dog in order to hurt Mrs Shears. But father didn’t want to hear Mr Shears name mentioned in his house. Father gets angry with Christopher and forbids him again to investigate further. Christopher promises to listen to his father and usually he never breaks his promises. So he stops writing the book. But five days later he sees five red cars in a row, and it is like a sign to him that that day would be “a super special day” and that something special was going to happen.
After school he meets Mrs Alexander and has a chat with her. The boy decides to ask her about Mr Shears since his father never forbade him to mention that name outside the house. She doesn’t want to say much and says that Christopher knows why his father doesn’t like Christopher mentioning Mr Shears. He says he doesn’t and keeps on asking her, so she tells him that Mr Shears had a relationship with his mother. The boy decides to continue his book.
One day Christopher’s father finds the book and gets angry because he talked to Mrs Alexander. They have a fight and the father takes the book from him and hides it. Next day after school he starts to look for his book. He finds it in the father’s bedroom and also the letters from his mother addressed to him. After reading them he concludes that his father was lying to him all these years and that his mother is alive. His father finds him sick later and tells Christopher that he will never lie to him again and that he did it for Christopher’s own sake. Also the father tells that he is the one who killed Wellington.
The boy gets afraid of his father and thinks that he can also kill Christopher. So he decides to run away. He plans to leave for London to live at there with his mother. He takes his father’s bank card, his rat and some food with him. The journey to London takes him a whole day because of his fear of new places and people. The police chases him on his way, but he manages to escape. When he gets safely to his mother’s house he sleeps there. In the middle of the night his father comes to take him back, but Christopher doesn’t want that. He wants to stay with his mother, but Mr Shears doesn’t like that, so the mother leaves him and moves to Swindon with her son.
Back in Swindon Christopher takes his A-level math exams and gets an A on them. His father wants Christopher to forgive him so he buys a dog for Christopher. At the end he is happy that he solved the mystery of the dog, found his mother, went to London by himself and wrote a book. It means to him that he can achieve anything he wants in his life.
C. PERSONAL COMMENTS
MOST IMPORTANT CHARACTER
a. Christopher is the most important character in this novel.
b. First of all this book is about the struggle of an autistic person to fit in this world and Christopher has Asperger's Syndrome. Secondly he’s the narrator of this book.
c. “When I try to imagine an apple in someone’s eye, it doesn’t have anything to do with liking someone a lot and it makes you forget what the person was talking about.” (page 15).
MOST IMPORTANT EVENT
a. The most important event is when Christopher discovers that his mother is still alive.
b. That’s because the story takes an unexpected turn. That’s when he decides to go to London to look for his mother.
a. I admire Siobhan the most, because she has taught Christopher ways to understand this world better.
b. “I got Siobhan to draw lots of these faces and then write down next to them exactly what they meant. I kept the pieces of paper in my pocket and took it out when I didn’t understand what someone was saying”. (page 3)
a. I read this book with pleasure because it was very interesting. I’ve always wondered what autism is. Because the narrator of thisnovel is autistic you get a very close look at his mind.
b. “I find people very confusing. This is for two main reasons. The first reason is that people do a lot of talking without using any words. Siobhan says that if you raise one eyebrow it can mean lots of different things”.(page 14-15)