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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime: Critical Analysis

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This novel is an unusual mystery. When the world is looked through an emotionally and dissociated mind, it is clear and understood better. Christopher John Francis Boone shows his uniqueness throughout Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, where this gifted character decides to investigate a murder mystery of a dog. During this investigation, he discovered many secrets that were not allowed to be uncovered. This honest novel is told through an autistic boys perspective, through his text, and the way the book is structured. In other words, this book is extremely unique.

Firstly, the novel has many text differences. The novel contains sentences that do not have good structure along with some informal writing. Christopher stated that:

“And the next morning I looked out of the window in the dining room to count the cars in the street to see whether it was going to be a quite good day or a good day or a super good day or a black day, but it wasn’t like being on the bus to school because you could look out of the window for as long as wanted and see as many cars you wanted, and I looked out of the window for three hours and I saw 5 red cars in a row and 4 yellow cars in a row which meant it was both a good day and a black day, so the system didn’t work anymore ” (Haddon 205).

The quote represents the lack of structure in the book. This is a run on sentence with plenty of grammatical error. Usually in novels, grammar and sentence structure is crucial, whereas in this novel the errors make it unique making the reader want to further read the story. This also proves the autistic side of Christopher as these are his thoughts. This demonstrates how Christopher wants to deliver his thoughts through one long run on sentence. Secondly, christopher elaborates on things he says throughout the novel. Christopher notes down a string of text that is placed at the bottom of the page in the novel that further explains something he said in the chapter, using number symbols.

“ It looked as if there were two very small mice hiding in his nostrils.”

“This is not a metaphor, it is a simile, which means that it really did look like there were two very small mice hiding in his nostrils, and if you make a picture in your head of a man with two very small mice hiding in his nostrils, you will know what the police inspector look like. And a Simile is not a lie, unless it is a bad simile” (Haddon 17).

Furthermore, Christopher tends to do this throughout the novel, to elaborate on things he says. Most novels do not have strings of text at the bottom of the page.

Furthermore, the way this book is structured is not like other novels.Christopher uses footnotes to add further explanation to his text.

“ Between the roof of the shed and a big plant that hangs over the fence from the house next door I could see the constellation Orion.

People say that Orion is called Orion because Orion was a hunter and the constellations look like a hunter with a club and bow and arrow, like this” (Haddon 125).

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This is an evidence of how the book is different from other novels. Most novels do not contain pictures and diagrams to explain the story yet this novel did. This shows how Christopher put his thoughts on paper; not only did he use words and informal writing but he also used pictures and diagrams to help the reader understand his exact thoughts. Moreover, this novel is in a first person point of view.

“ Then i went out of the toilet and saw that opposite the toilet there were two shelves with cases and a rack sack on them and it made me think of the airing cupboard at home and how I climb in there sometimes and it makes me feel safe” (Haddon 163).

In addition to this, in this novel everything is told through christoper. The readers see things through Christophers eyes. Unlike this novel, most novels have different point of views. Majority of novels have plenty of different point of views, whereas in this novel, all we get to see is the first person view, which is Christopher. For example, when Christopher speaks about something his mom had told him, we read it as what Christopher heard it as, and his perspective; we never hear it from the mother. This proves that the structure of the book is extremely unique in its own way.

Lastly, this novel is written through an autistic perspective. To begin with, the fifteen year old boy, Christopher John Francis Boone has a logical and concrete way of looking at everything.

“ his face was drawn but the curtains were real.”

“I know this is meant to be funny. I asked. It is because drawn has three meanings, and they are (1) drawn with a pencil (2) exhausted (3) pulled across a window, and meaning number 1 refers to both the face and the curtains, meaning 2 refers only to the face and meaning 3 refers only to curtains. If I try to say the joke to myself, making the world mean the three different things at the same time, it is like hearing three different pieces of music at the same time, which is uncomfortable and confusing and not nice like white noise” (Haddon 8).

Although the word is not mentioned in the novel, Christopher suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s Syndrome can cause you to have problems with social interactions, restricted and repetition of patterns of behavior and interests. This also causes Christopher to think logically about everything. In the novel Christopher does not make any jokes as he does not understand what a joke is. He will constantly think about the meaning of the joke and get confused. If there is something in the text that he does not understand, Christopher breaks it down. After breaking down the sentence he will analyze it in a logical way to make sure every bit of it makes sense to him. He has a concrete and logical way of looking at every aspect of life. This is shown throughout the novel.

Furthermore, Christopher refuses to be put in the special needs categories just because of his differences. He believes that his differences does not mean anything, and that he should not be placed in a special needs category.

“ all the other children at my school are stupid. Except I’m not meant to called them stupid even though that is what they are. I’m meant to say that is stupid because everyone has learning difficulties because learning to speak French or understanding relativity is difficult and also everyone has special needs, like father who has to carry a little packet of artificial sweetening tablets around him to put in his coffee to stop him from getting fat, or Mrs. Peters who wears a beige coloured hearing aid, or Siobhan who has glasses so thick that they give you a headache if you borrowed them and none of these people are special needs, even if they have special needs” (Haddon 43-44).

Additionally, Christopher believes that everyone has special needs hence why he refuses to be put in the special need category. Christopher is remarkably intelligent and he is exceedingly good in math. Despite this, the school he goes to always tries to put him into special needs programs. Christopher knows he does not belong in it because he believes no one should be categorized.

In summary, the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time written by Mark Haddon is not like other novels. The text is all different. The structure of the book is distinctive. Lastly, this story is told through an autistic boy’s view which is unique. Mark Haddon is writing a story about a boy writing his story. This alters the way you look at your life and that forces us to rewrite our stories.

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime: Critical Analysis. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime: Critical Analysis.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022,
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