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The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime: Theme Analysis

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“Imagine a world like that” (Grande), imagine a life that Christopher Boone lived in… The “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” is a novel brilliantly written by the famous Mark Haddon. This book not only moves and inspires you making you want to keep reading but its content is “gloriously eccentric and wonderfully intelligent”, (Boston Globe) making it captivating to every single age and gender. Mark Haddon uses such a unique way to describe the personality of an autistic child in a way that doesn’t make me amazed that this literature piece has won three awards including the “Guardian Child Fiction Prize”, the “Costa Book of the year”, and lastly the “Waverton Good Read”. This book that is full of mystery leaves you with something to remember and it includes a crime so huge that it causes some people to lose everything. This exhilarating novel was not only written by Mark but also published by Jonathan Cape in the same year which was 2003. It has also shown millions around the world that’s it’s okay to not be the exact same as everyone else. The theme of the “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” shows that “Even though you may seem different and be slower than everyone around you, you have the same ability and same chance to achieve greatness”. As a child that suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, Christopher Boone had a dream but one that he believed he surely couldn’t achieve. But since, “ [He] went to London on [his] own, and because [he] solved the mystery of “Who Killed Wellington?” and [he] found [his] mother and [he] was brave and [he] wrote a book and that means [he] can do anything.”(Mark Haddon)

“A good title is the title of a successful book” (Raymond Chandler). Sadly, in this day and age, the saying that people judge a book by its cover actually lives up to its name not only with people but mostly including books. Most people first look and feast by the eyes without knowing the whole story in large. It is now becoming essential that the title of the actual novel lives up to what the story is about as for that’s what pulls people in to read the novel. As Mark Haddon says “Reading is a conversation. All the books talk. But a good book listens as well.”(Mark). This quote personally speaks to me as after I had read the “Curious Incident” I felt as if Christopher Boone (the main protagonist which suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome) spoke to me saying that even though you might not fit in, you can do anything. As for Christopher since he solved the “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” crime. The title sneakily relates to the theme of not being exactly perfect. Everything happens for its own reason and no one knows why. You may not be the ideal person, suffer from problems no one understands and no one knows how hard it is to communicate with people or do something as simple such as hug someone you love but you need to have a dream. Christopher had one; to become an astronaut. You may just be a curious child, and be faced with thousands of obstacles or incidents but that’s what the stories about. No one knew the murderer of the poor dog Wellington, no one might know who you are but you need to prove that even because you are different just like Christopher you still have the ability to achieve absolute greatness.

Through the whole novel, the author beautifully portrays the fact that nothing is directly given to you. To be a successful novel you need to include the unknown. Mark Haddon left gaps for the readers to find secret messages about the characters, setting, and also the plot. Through the whole plot of the storyline, the theme is basically always there whether you may pay attention to what the character does and acts like. As for Christopher, he deals with many challenges and yet he always sticks true to who he is. An intelligent “A math” student that will always impress the crowd. As for the basic plot of trying to find out who killed Wellington; he stands pridefully and true determined to find the killer. If police officers and detectives couldn’t find out who killed a black toy poodle on 36 Randolph road, how can a fifteen-year-old ordinary child not to mention one who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome solve the case? Even though he is not skilled, not trained, you always have to look on the bright side. Pick what your good at and for Christopher it was something so innocent as being his “curious” self. Snooping around until he found something and even though he did not get down and do the dirty work, he found out the murderer of the poor dog by appeal in emotion and guilt. So even though you feel like someone is more experienced or trained, always do what you do best and that way you will succeed.

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In this novel it takes place in many different places, mostly locating between three main locations being Christopher’s house in Swindon Wiltshire, Chapel Road in London, and Christopher’s school. His house is where he collects all his memories, it’s his home, where his father lives, where Toby lived, and where he and his mother used to live together as one big happy family. Next, to his school, his school is basically his second home. It’s where he learned to read, write and communicate with others. It’s where he meets Siobhan, his phycologist each and every day in which that’s the only person that truly understands him. Lastly, London… If it wasn’t for him being himself he would have never got to experience the many things that make him happy. He would have never solved the case of Wellington, he would have never met his dog Sandy, and most importantly he would’ve never met his mother. If he hadn’t had the will and bravery to step into his father’s room he wouldn’t have found the letters which found him to discover Wellington’s murderer. As a result of, he would not have travelled to London to find the joy of having a mother to care for you in a way no one else would and in a way he barely got to experience. If the setting was anywhere else in the book there would be no story. For example, if Christopher and his family did not live in Swindon, Judy would have never met Mr. Shears and there would be no black toy poodle to worry about. There would also be no lesson learned and so the setting of Christopher’s life, living on this exact street completely affects the lesson to always stay true to yourself. Overall, the setting would affect how Christopher would live and what he would be like and because he has the spark to always be who he is even though he may not be the same as everyone else he showed everyone that he is special in a way that no one else could be.

“[His] name is Christopher John Francis Boone. [He] know[s] all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7,507” (Harron). Christopher John Francis Boone, an ordinary child that was born with Asperger’s Syndrome takes on the role of being the main protagonist in this novel. Unique, curious and honest. Many characters have learned a predominant lesson but I believe that Christopher’s change is far beyond the others. Furthermore, throughout the book, he realized that he was able to achieve far more than he believed ending in him having the power to solve a mystery, write a book, and find his long lost mother. Through the novel, since the beginning, I believe that Christopher learns the lesson of independence. As you read through the novel, he has a growing desire to be on his own and travel through the streets of England and you start to notice that he has gained the confidence to do that. Some ways that he had shown independence is disobeying and not following his father’s ways and orders such as sneaking into his room. Another thing is that Christopher yearns for the chance to be independent because he has visions, for instance, imagining him being “alone” and “independent” on the earth by himself. Not only does he also have plans on going to college and being by himself but he also has the urge to be the only man on the rocket ship when he becomes an astronaut so he could be in the solar system himself to be hundreds of miles away from the basic idea of people on earth. As through this novel, he learns the lesson of independence by travelling to London and that is a huge and significant conquest and achievement since he has never travelled on his own before. After this quest, Christopher feels like he has overcome his monuments and now felt that he could achieve most possibly anything.

In this novel, there are many hidden aspects that make it just as enjoyable to read the novel over and over again because each time you may discover new things. Every single sentence in the book has a meaning and some hidden messages or symbols that may represent different aspects and different things. For example, Christopher’s swiss army knife. This knife is a symbol that might not be noticeable or extravagant but this knife would represent security. Without the knife he does not feel safe as for example at the train station when one lady offers to help him, he lunges at her with the knife knowing that she might be a dangerous and risky stranger. The knife would represent the stability and security and so he could feel safe and self defend himself. Another symbol that I also found in the book was the diagrams or illustrations. The illustrations whether of a map, the prime number chart, the Monty Hall Problem etc, is what is happening inside Christopher’s brain. Even though it is represented in form of a drawing, it is his inner thoughts and feeling. The “Curious Incident” is an interesting book written very intelligently in the eyes of an autistic child. Lastly, the last symbol or message that I realized when reading the book which also relates to the theme is that everything happens for a reason. Even though you can’t act or look the same as everyone else or you may act different such as him but when Christopher followed his inner personality of being curious, for example, if he didn’t look through his father’s room he would have never met his dog, Sandy. Continually since Toby passed away weeks after, once Toby died it would have been very hard on Christopher as him losing one of his best friends but if he didn’t have the will to try to find his draft of his novel that was withdrawn from him he would’ve never met his furry new best friend, Sandy let alone his mother.

Overall, the “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” is an amazing book written by Mark Haddon that beautifully portrays the theme of that you may seem different and be slower than everyone around you, but you still have the same ability and same chance to achieve greatness. Christopher Boone the protagonist of the novel shows you that it’s okay to be different, to have a mind of your own and to act however you are and who you want to be. If he didn’t have the courage to get his novel back from his father, he would have never been the person that he stands proud to be now. It might not be so easy but learn to be like Christopher John Francis Boone because why should you fit in, when you were born to stand out?

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The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime: Theme Analysis. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from
“The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime: Theme Analysis.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022,
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