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Themes Of Honesty, Trust, Isolation And Obsession In The Book The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime

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Composers create texts to reveal the varying degree of complex perspectives in order to immerse others into an unfamiliar world of experience and insights.

Within Mark Haddon’s novel ‘The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time’ (2003), accomplishes this aspect through the use of incorporating unique themes and ideas such as love honesty and trust, isolation and obsession.

Haddon’s first person narration of Christopher Boone exposes the way in which he feels about love, honesty and trust. The protagonist states the he wants the absolute truth and honesty, yet he deceives the people around him to get his way by telling “A white lie..” as it “…is not a lie at all.” “…the truth but you do not tell all of the truth…” .The denotation of him insisting on wanting pure honesty but contradicts himself as he does not want to return it shows how he cannot take lying seriously and depends on the people surrounding Christopher to work around him. In combination to this, Christopher’s mental condition makes it almost impossible for him to show empathy therefore his interpretation of “… loving someone is … telling them the truth..” highlights his deeper understanding of love and trust. It also additionally emphasisies the paradox of Christopher wanting utter complete truth and honesty yet not being able to provide it himself.

His irrational actions to maintain truth and honesty engulfs readers into a new and intricate world accomplished through perspective.

Furthermore, as it is highly challenging for Christopher to cope with social interactions unable to comprehend feelings and affection that civilisation desires, he simply finds being in complete isolation is more comforting rather than associating with society. This is seen when father came “…home in his van, I moved the bed up against the door so he couldn’t get in…”. This isolation foreshadows that he will continue to be lonely throughout this murder mystery journey.

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Whenever Christopher is isolated he always seems to be a lot more happier and calmer, he enjoys being by himself as he doesn’t like being around people, doesn’t like being touched and finds it frightening to be around crowds. When he wants to relax he would “…get into the airing cupboard outside the bathroom and slide in beside the boiler and pull the door closed behind… and sit there and think for hours…” this would make him “…feel very calm.” The emotive language evokes Christopher’s feelings allowing readers to see his method of calming down is very different from others. As he pays great attention to detail of his surroundings more then we would ever, this suggests that by distancing himself from society allows him time to process information without the interruption of others.

Thus, the more isolated he is, the more connected he becomes to the world as time alone allows him to fully comprehend and understand the works of society. His favourite dream also contributes to how distinct and disrupted his minds thought process is. The dream consists of “…nearly everyone on the earth is dead…” this contrast between a utopic world but everyone is dead builds juxtaposition as he is comparing a fantasy to a morbid scene. proving that Christopher is enveloped by his own vision wanting to live this world alone rather than with people as it is viewed to be much easier that way. Haddon allows viewers to observe a different aspect through a highly challenging point of view where misinterpreting feelings and actions happen frequently therefore results in isolation as being the best option.

In the same vein, complexity of human behaviour in response to facing challenging experiences forces the individual to distract themselves by immersing into something that will distract/entertain oneself such as an obsession of a murder mystery. Mark Haddon grants readers an insight into a new experience and perspective of obsession as one of Christopher’s way of coping with his struggle of reality. He engulfs himself into solving the mystery of his neighbours dead dog.

While the protagonist is obsessed in detective work, he sets himself limitations as he is afraid of the colours yellow and brown, stranger’s and will collapse screaming if anyone gets too close to him. In spite of these restrictions he would go to the extent of rising above and beyond his comfort zone in order to solve the mystery, this arises from his obsession towards the case. It can be seen when Christopher first starts his detective work, he doesn’t like talking to people but “…if you are going to do detective work you have to be brave…”, he exceeds past his comfort zone in order to unravel this mystery due to his dedication and desire towards the case . These obsessions are a way to distract Christopher from reality but is detaching him too much as he is oblivious to the fact that his family is slowly disintegrating.

After all the chaos and tragedy, once Christopher and his mother are reunited she obviously feels very emotional. She knows that Christopher wont hug her so she asks Christopher, “…let me hold your hand. Just for once. Just for me. Will you? I won’t hold it hard,’ repetition of just for emphasises on how valuable holding Christopher’s hand is but, this situation pushes Christopher’s personal boundaries which leads to him declining her request. The use of truncated sentence is also seen in the dialogue building a sense of importance for the mother. This is especially important when considered alongside Boone’s decision of stepping out of his reassuring ground to solve a mystery but he wouldn’t do a simple hand gesture for his mother. This establishes that his obsession over the deceased dog overpowers his love for his mother. Haddon displays a representation of such a complex and intricate perspective through the use of themes and experiences such as obsession.

Ultimately, Mark Haddon the composer of ‘The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-time’ granting readers into a never before seen point of view in a fully detailed manner achieving the connection between protagonist to viewer. He successfully accomplishes offering the audience into a rare perspective through the use of various experiences, themes and morals.

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Themes Of Honesty, Trust, Isolation And Obsession In The Book The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime. (2021, September 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 29, 2023, from
“Themes Of Honesty, Trust, Isolation And Obsession In The Book The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime.” Edubirdie, 14 Sept. 2021,
Themes Of Honesty, Trust, Isolation And Obsession In The Book The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Jan. 2023].
Themes Of Honesty, Trust, Isolation And Obsession In The Book The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 14 [cited 2023 Jan 29]. Available from:
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