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The Key Elements Of Mark Haddon's Writing Style In The Novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime

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Mark Haddon is an author that has won 3 awards in his lifetime from the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. This book has many characters that develop throughout the book such as Christopher Boone, Ed Boone, Judy Boone, Mr. Roger Shears, Sioban. Christopher Boon although autistic, is extremely gifted in math and science. The story revolves around Christopher facing accusation of committing murder against his neighbors dog. Creating a twist in the narrative with Christophers father being the one who actually committed the crime, the readers see how the father tries to gain his sons trust back.Anyone who reads Haddon’s works will find it fun and engaging because the story lines he develops are very intriguing. Mark Haddon is a great author that includes essential elements such as theme, character development, conflict, and resolution and it is proven in these three works, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime”, “Trees”, and “The River Car”.

Honesty is a key component that Mark Haddon uses throughout his writings. In the book “The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Nighttime”, Christopher’s dad told him that his mother had died from a heart attack, however the truth is that his mother had left them. Later in the story, when Christopher realizes the truth that his mom is still alive, it overwhelmed him and made him sick. This was a big part of the story because it completely changed Christophers outlook on everything and especially his father. His father returned home to see Christopher unwell and had to face his son who knew he had kept this secret from him. ‘Mother had not had a heart attack. Mother had not died. Mother had been alive all the time. And Father had lied about this” Haddon (page 157), Ed Boone had lost his sons trust from being dishonest. Christopher’s father didn’t want his son to feel hurt knowing the truth about his mother’s absence, therefore he felt that keeping him from truth was saving him. Distrust is a theme that many people may go through in today’s society. Mark Haddon creates this theme that his audience can relate to, whether the reader was the one who lied or was the one who was told the lie. A lesson can be learned from this story and from real life experiences how distrust can break bonds between people and the struggle to rebuild those relationships when trust is broken.

Another theme that Haddon uses in the book is Trust. It is obvious in the beginning of the story that Christopher has trust issues with strangers, and can only trust his friends. To illustrate, Christopher gets nervous being in a conversation with someone he doesn’t know very well so, he removes himself from the conversation he was having with a stranger, ‘I began to get nervous because I didn’t know her well enough to know whether she was telling the truth about getting orange squash and Battenberg cake….So I walked away’Haddon (Page ). There are several people who can empathize with Christopher because there are situations where people feel afraid or shy to open up to people that are strangers to us. Christopher having trust issues with people he doesn’t know and removing himself from the conversation is something that happens to many people in the world today. The author does a great job letting the theme communicate to his readers by relating to how they act, feel, interact, and think when put in a real-world situation. Trust is used throughout the story and this is just one of many examples.

Mark Haddon has many other incredible works that are worth reading. His poems and books are structured very well and have meaningful messages in them. The Poem “Trees” is a poem that has a deeper message to it and that message can be discovered once read multiple times. The main message of the poem is self-identity which is a key component to life, because if someone is struggling to find out who they are, it may cause one feel lost in the world. The setting of the poem begins in a graveyard and garden discussing how the trees although different from one another, do not take too much attention. Haddon uses the trees to symbolize people in the world and how they are all different from one another. “They stand in parks and graveyards and gardens, some of them are taller than department stores, yet they do not draw attention to themselves” (Mark Haddon, Trees) ,society today is filled with people who have either found out who they are, or are trying to fit in and find their purpose in life. The theme of the poem is self-identity and it is expressed deeply within the structure of the poem, starting with feeling of wonder and ending with a sense of identity. It is evident that Mark Haddon is able to reach his audience in a meaningful way by creating themes that they can relate to.

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Character Development is a key element to have to create a more enjoyable book. The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Nighttime shows the development of the main character, Christopher Boone. As Christopher suffers from his autism it limits his ability to imagine what other people are feeling or thinking when they’re talking to him and he can’t tell a when someone speaks to him sarcastically. He knows that he is different from others and focuses on his strengths which is his talent for math and his great memory skills. Christopher gains confidence over time and learns how not listen to others like for example he began to disobey his father in order to be his own man. He plans on going through college and even living on his own which Is surprising because if you looked at him in the beginning of the story and seen what he was made of it’d shock you to think that he could do all this but it goes to show how much Christopher has developed overtime into someone new. At the end of the novel, Christopher reflects on everything he’s been through and believes that all the obstacles he faced has prepared him to move forward in life on his own.

Conflict and resolution are what makes a story great and Mark Haddon has that in his novel and poems in a way. There were many conflicts throughout the Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime such as Ed Boone losing his sons trust, the neighbor’s dog dying, Christopher being too shy to socialize and many other problems but most of them were resolved. In his poem Trees, the conflict in the poem was not having a self-identity which may cause confusion with yourself and what you want in life. Going back to the resolution part of Mark Haddon’s novel, Christopher’s weakness of communicating with people he doesn’t know eventually became a strength of his. The neighbor’s dog dying was a big mystery in the beginning and Christopher was the one being accused of the murder but the one person he least expected to be the victim was his father, and that was the face his father Ed Boone was the murderer of the dog and Christopher began to lose some trust in his dad but wasn’t fully convinced his dad was untrustworthy until a key moment in the novel. Ed Boone had lied to his son about the mother of Christopher being dead and his son lost all his dads trust but eventually gave his dad a second chance at the end of the novel. Every conflict usually has a resolution which makes the reader feel better about the story but in some cases the resolution may be up to the reader to decide and that doesn’t sit well with lots of people but Haddon does a great job of adding those details in his works.

Many people may disagree with the fact that Mark Haddon added in the fact that Christopher Boone suffers from Autism. When dealing with a topic that people can be sensitive towards it’s important to incorporate it in the writing the right way or else people will heavily criticize the writing. Christopher Boones experiences in the story can be something a real person with autism can go through. Sarah Jaquette Ray is an author that has criticized Haddon’s novel in a good way. Sarah mentions in her article ‘Normalcy, Knowledge, and Nature in Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ ,that Haddon’s choice of making the story be told from Christopher’s point of view helps the audience understand what he goes through on a regular basis. People may be confused about a disability meaning someone isn’t normal and according to Sarah that isn’t the case, “They are only different in degree, not kind. Disability is therefore an arbitrary social category and would perhaps be better understood in terms of a spectrum of abilities that are relative to environmental conditions.”, disability can’t make someone normal; because there is no definition of normal. Clair Allfree, a journalist has had good things to say on Haddon,” Haddon is someone who likes to constantly change tack; he is also an accomplished artist.” proving the fact that Mark Haddon is great with character development and changes throughout the course of a story. Mark Haddon does have people that are interested in his work and most have nothing but good things to say about him.

In conclusion Mark Haddon’s work speaks for itself, his most famous novel has gotten him some awards and his other works have sent messages to his readers. Mark Haddon knows how to target the right audience because most of his books can be read by younger and older people because of the way he structures his writings. Themes like honesty and trust are very common for anyone in todays society because at a certain point in everyones life honesty can make or break relationships and same goes for trust. Character development, structure, conflict and resolution are all key elements that Mark Haddon puts in his writings greatly. Novelist and Journalist have reviewed Haddon’s book ‘The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Nighttime” and they’ve mention Haddon’s use of character development and structure.

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The Key Elements Of Mark Haddon’s Writing Style In The Novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime. (2021, September 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 8, 2023, from
“The Key Elements Of Mark Haddon’s Writing Style In The Novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime.” Edubirdie, 14 Sept. 2021,
The Key Elements Of Mark Haddon’s Writing Style In The Novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 Jun. 2023].
The Key Elements Of Mark Haddon’s Writing Style In The Novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 14 [cited 2023 Jun 8]. Available from:
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