Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time: A Novel That Explores Autism And Mystery
Outline of the article :----------------------- H1: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: A Novel Review H2: Introduction - What is the novel about and who is the author? - What are the main themes and motifs of the novel? - Why is the novel popular and acclaimed? H2: Summary of the Plot - How does Christopher discover the murder of Wellington, the dog? - How does he decide to investigate the mystery and write a book about it? - How does he find out the truth about his mother and Mr. Shears? - How does he run away from home and travel to London? - How does he reunite with his mother and confront his father? - How does he take his maths exam and plan his future? H2: Analysis of the Characters - How does Christopher's autism affect his personality and behavior? - How does Ed cope with raising Christopher and dealing with his guilt? - How does Judy struggle with her love for Christopher and her frustration with Ed? - How do Mrs. Shears, Siobhan, and Mrs. Alexander help or hinder Christopher's journey? H2: Evaluation of the Literary Devices - How does the novel use prime numbers, diagrams, and footnotes to reflect Christopher's mind? - How does the novel use Sherlock Holmes, metaphors, and irony to convey Christopher's worldview? - How does the novel use perspective, dialogue, and humor to create empathy for Christopher? H2: Conclusion - What are the main messages and lessons of the novel? - What are the strengths and weaknesses of the novel? - How does the novel challenge or inspire the reader? H2: FAQs - What is the curious incident of the dog in the night-time that Sherlock Holmes refers to? - Is Christopher based on a real person or a fictional character? - Is the novel suitable for children or adults or both? - How does the play adaptation differ from the novel? - What are some other novels that deal with autism or similar conditions? Article with HTML formatting :----------------------------- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: A Novel Review
If you are looking for a novel that is unique, captivating, and insightful, you might want to check out The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This novel is a mystery story told from the perspective of a 15-year-old boy with autism, who sets out to solve the murder of his neighbor's dog and ends up discovering secrets about his own family and himself. In this article, we will review the novel and explore its main themes, characters, and literary devices.
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a novel by Mark Haddon, published in 2003. The title refers to a Sherlock Holmes story, where the detective deduces that the absence of a dog's bark during a crime indicates that the culprit was someone familiar to the dog. The novel is narrated by Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy who lives in Swindon, Wiltshire, with his widowed father, Ed. Christopher has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which affects his social skills, communication, and behavior. He is also gifted in mathematics and logic, but has difficulty understanding emotions, metaphors, and jokes. He loves animals, especially dogs, and hates strangers, loud noises, and being touched.
The novel follows Christopher's investigation of the death of Wellington, a dog belonging to his neighbor Mrs. Shears. Along the way, he uncovers secrets about his mother Judy, who he thought had died of a heart attack two years ago, but who actually left him and his father for another man, Mr. Shears. He also decides to write a book about his detective work, with the help of his school teacher Siobhan. His quest leads him to run away from home and travel to London by himself, where he reunites with his mother and confronts his father. He also takes his maths A-level exam and plans to become a scientist in the future.
The novel explores various themes and motifs, such as social disorder, logic, honesty and trust, perspective, difference and diversity, family and love. The novel also uses various literary devices, such as prime numbers, diagrams, footnotes, Sherlock Holmes references, metaphors, irony, dialogue, and humor. The novel has been widely praised for its originality, creativity, and empathy. It has won several awards, including the Whitbread Book Awards for Best Novel and Book of the Year, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book, and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. It has also been adapted into a successful play that has changed perceptions and understandings of autism.
Summary of the Plot
The novel begins with Christopher finding Wellington dead on Mrs. Shears' lawn. He decides to investigate who killed him and why. He starts by asking questions to his neighbors and making notes in his book. He meets Mrs. Alexander, an elderly lady who tells him that his mother had an affair with Mr. Shears before she died. Christopher is shocked by this revelation and decides not to tell his father about it.
Christopher's father finds his book and confiscates it. He also tells Christopher to stop snooping around and to stay away from Mrs. Shears. Christopher is upset by this and searches for his book in his father's room. He finds it hidden in a shirt box along with several letters addressed to him from his mother. He realizes that his mother is still alive and living in London with Mr. Shears.
Christopher becomes distressed and enters a catatonic state. His father finds him on the floor and tries to comfort him. He admits that he lied about Judy's death because he was angry and hurt by her leaving them. He also confesses that he was the one who killed Wellington because he had a fight with Mrs. Shears after she broke up with him. He apologizes to Christopher and begs for his forgiveness.
Christopher does not trust his father anymore and decides to run away from home. He takes his pet rat Toby, some food and money, and his mother's letters with him. He also takes his Swiss Army knife for protection. He plans to go to London and live with his mother.
Christopher faces many challenges and dangers on his journey. He has to deal with strangers, crowds, noises, and unfamiliar places. He has to buy a train ticket, find the right platform, and board the train. He has to hide from the police, who are looking for him after his father reported him missing. He has to cope with his sensory overload, anxiety, and panic attacks. He also has to rescue Toby, who escapes from his cage and runs into the train tracks.
Christopher manages to reach London and find his mother's address. He knocks on the door and is greeted by Mr. Shears, who is not happy to see him. He lets him in and calls Judy, who is at work. Judy is overjoyed to see Christopher and hugs him. She tells him that she wrote to him every week but never received a reply. She also tells him that she loves him and missed him terribly.
Judy decides to take Christopher with her and leave Mr. Shears, who does not want Christopher around. They go to a hotel for the night and plan to find a new place to live. Christopher's father calls Judy and tells her that he is coming to London to see Christopher. He also tells her that he is sorry for what he did and that he loves Christopher.
The next day, Christopher's father arrives at the hotel and tries to talk to Christopher. He brings a golden retriever puppy as a gift for Christopher and as a way to make up for killing Wellington. He tells Christopher that he can keep the puppy and name it whatever he wants. He also tells Christopher that he can choose where he wants to live, with him or with his mother.
Christopher does not know what to do. He still does not trust his father, but he also does not want to hurt his feelings. He likes the puppy, but he also misses Toby. He wants to live with his mother, but he also wants to go back to Swindon and take his maths exam.
Christopher decides to take the maths exam first and then decide where he wants to live. He goes back to Swindon with his father and the puppy, while his mother stays in London and looks for a job and a flat. Christopher takes the exam and gets an A grade, the highest possible score. He is very proud of himself and hopes to study maths at university someday.
Christopher also starts to rebuild his relationship with his father. He agrees to let his father touch his hand as a sign of affection. He also agrees to visit his mother in London every other weekend with his father. He names the puppy Sandy and takes good care of him.
The novel ends with Christopher reflecting on his achievements and challenges. He says that he solved the mystery of Wellington's death, found his mother, wrote a book, took the maths exam, and made some friends. He says that he can do anything if he tries hard enough. He says that he feels brave and happy.
Analysis of the Characters
The novel has a small cast of characters, most of whom are seen through Christopher's eyes. The main characters are:
Christopher John Francis Boone: The narrator and protagonist of the novel. He is a 15-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which affects his social skills, communication, and behavior. He is also gifted in mathematics and logic, but has difficulty understanding emotions, metaphors, and jokes. He loves animals, especially dogs, and hates strangers, loud noises, and being touched. He is honest, curious, brave, and loyal.
Ed Boone: Christopher's father and guardian. He is a boiler engineer who works for a heating maintenance company. He loves Christopher very much but struggles to cope with his special needs and behavior. He is also tormented by guilt for lying to Christopher about his mother's death and killing Wellington out of anger. He tries to protect Christopher from the truth but ends up losing his trust.
Judy Boone: Christopher's mother and Ed's estranged wife. She works as a secretary in a factory that makes artificial limbs. She also loves Christopher very much but feels frustrated by his condition and Ed's lack of support. She suffers from depression and anxiety and decides to leave them for another man, Mr. Shears. She regrets her decision and writes letters to Christopher every week, hoping for a reconciliation.
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Mr. Shears: Judy's lover and Mrs. Shears' ex-husband. He works as a banker and lives in London. He does not like Christopher and does not want him to live with them. He is selfish, rude, and cold.
Siobhan: Christopher's teacher and mentor at school. She helps Christopher with his social skills and communication. She also encourages him to write his book and take his maths exam. She is kind, patient, and supportive.
Mrs. Alexander: Christopher's elderly neighbor and friend. She tells Christopher about his mother's affair with Mr. Shears. She also gives him a chocolate bar and a magazine. She is friendly, generous, and lonely.
Evaluation of the Literary Devices
The novel uses various literary devices to create a distinctive and engaging style. Some of the literary devices are:
Prime numbers: Christopher uses prime numbers to number the chapters of his book, instead of the conventional successive numbers. He explains that he likes prime numbers because they are logical, unique, and mysterious. Prime numbers also reflect Christopher's mind, which is rational, different, and complex.
Diagrams: Christopher uses diagrams to illustrate his thoughts, explanations, and memories. He draws maps, charts, graphs, puzzles, and shapes to help him understand and communicate better. Diagrams also show Christopher's visual and spatial intelligence, as well as his preference for order and clarity.
Footnotes: Christopher uses footnotes to provide additional information, comments, or digressions. He often uses footnotes to explain mathematical concepts, scientific facts, or linguistic rules. He also uses footnotes to express his opinions, feelings, or jokes. Footnotes show Christopher's curiosity, knowledge, and humor.
Sherlock Holmes references: Christopher uses Sherlock Holmes as his role model and inspiration for his detective work. He often quotes or refers to Sherlock Holmes stories, such as The Hound of the Baskervilles or The Sign of Four. He also compares himself to Sherlock Holmes in terms of his observation skills, logic skills, and lack of emotions. Sherlock Holmes references show Christopher's admiration, aspiration, and identification with the famous fictional detective.
Metaphors: Christopher dislikes metaphors because he thinks they are illogical, confusing, and dishonest. He prefers literal and factual language over figurative and imaginative language. However, he also uses metaphors unconsciously or ironically throughout the novel. For example, he says that his memory is like a film or that his mind is like a machine. He also says that metaphors are lies or that people are stupid. Metaphors show Christopher's contradiction, creativity, and criticism.
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Irony: The novel uses irony to create contrast and humor between what is said and what is meant, what is expected and what happens, or what is known by the reader and what is known by the characters. For example, the title of the novel is ironic because the curious incident of the dog in the night-time is not really relevant to the main plot of the novel. Another example is when Christopher says that he never tells lies but he lies several times in the novel. Irony shows the complexity, unpredictability, and humor of life and language.
Perspective: The novel uses perspective to show how different people see and experience the world differently. The novel is written in the first-person point of view of Christopher, who has a unique and limited perspective due to his autism. He often misunderstands or misinterprets other people's emotions, intentions, or actions. He also has a different sense of time, space, and reality. Perspective shows how subjective, relative, and diverse human perception and cognition are.
Dialogue: The novel uses dialogue to reveal the characters' personalities, relationships, and conflicts. The novel has many dialogues between Christopher and other characters, such as his father, his mother, Siobhan, Mrs. Shears, Mr. Shears, Mrs. Alexander, and strangers. The dialogues show how Christopher communicates with others, how others communicate with him, and how they influence each other. Dialogue shows how challenging, important, and meaningful human communication and interaction are.
Humor: The novel uses humor to lighten the mood and entertain the reader. The novel has many humorous moments, such as when Christopher makes jokes or puns, when he does something unexpected or inappropriate, or when he encounters something absurd or ridiculous. The humor often comes from Christopher's innocence, honesty, or logic. Humor shows how fun, surprising, and enjoyable life and language can be.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a novel that offers a rare and fascinating glimpse into the mind of a boy with autism. It is a novel that challenges and inspires the reader to think differently about themselves and others. It is a novel that celebrates difference and diversity, logic and creativity, honesty and trust, family and love.
The novel has many strengths, such as its originality, creativity, empathy, style, and humor. It also has some weaknesses, such as its simplicity, repetition, implausibility, or ambiguity. However, these weaknesses can also be seen as strengths depending on the reader's perspective and preference.
The novel is suitable for both children and adults who are interested in mystery stories, autism stories, or human stories. It is a novel that can appeal to a wide range of readers who are curious about the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.
What is the curious incident of the dog in the night-time that Sherlock Holmes refers to?
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time is a reference to a Sherlock Holmes story called "The Adventure of Silver Blaze". In this story, Sherlock Holmes solves the mystery of a missing racehorse and a murdered trainer by noticing that a dog did not bark during the night of the crime. He deduces that this means that the culprit was someone familiar to the dog. This incident illustrates Sherlock Holmes' famous method of observation and deduction.
Is Christopher based on a real person or a fictional character?
Christopher is a fictional character created by Mark Haddon. However, Mark Haddon has said that he was inspired by his own experiences as a young volunteer at a center for autistic children and as an illustrator for children with special needs. He has also said that he did not intend to write a realistic portrayal of autism but rather a realistic portrayal of Christopher as an individual.
Is the novel suitable for children or adults or both?
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Is the novel suitable for children or adults or both?
The novel is suitable for both children and adults who are interested in mystery stories, autism stories, or human stories. It is a novel that can appeal to a wide range of readers who are curious about the curious incident of the dog in the night-time. However, some readers may find the novel too simple, too complex, too unrealistic, or too disturbing depending on their age, background, or preference.
How does the play adaptation differ from the novel?
The play adaptation of the novel is a theatrical production that was first staged in 2012 in London and later in other countries. The play adaptation is faithful to the novel's plot, characters, and themes, but also adds some changes and innovations to suit the stage format. For example, the play adaptation uses a minimalist set with a grid of LED lights and projections to create different scenes and effects. It also uses actors, puppets, music, and sound to portray Christopher's emotions and experiences. The play adaptation has been praised for its creativity, spectacle, and emotion.
What are some other novels that deal with autism or similar conditions?
Some other novels that deal with autism or similar conditions are:
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion: A romantic comedy about a genetics professor with Asperger syndrome who tries to find a suitable wife.
The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon: A science fiction novel about an autistic man who works as a bioinformatics specialist and faces a dilemma when he is offered a treatment that could cure his condition.
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida: A memoir written by a 13-year-old boy with autism who answers various questions about his life and thoughts.