19 Aug 2022


“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”: a novel about autistic boy

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The book curious incident of the dog in the nighttime is a tale about a fifteen year old boy living with Asperser’s syndrome. His name is Christopher. He is talented in mathematics and later in the book he was turned into a detective by the disappearance of his neighbors’ dog. The book states that the boy loves Sherlock Holmes and he is keen to every little detail in his surroundings. However, he lacks interest in other people’s emotional lives ( Haddon & Philpott, 2003 ). For this reason, his investigations about the dog failed. The book further illustrates how the boy struggles with fighting his own emotions and fears. Generally, the book uncovers Christopher’s way of thinking and his general view of life. The book further explains his syndrome and strategies he has adopted to cope with it. Finally, the book illustrates that Christopher’s condition makes him able to analyze every situation including jokes even if he does not get them. The book also explains how his knowledge of the disease has helped him cope with some life situations. 

Given Christopher’s aversion to being touched, he cannot experience his parent’s love; he can only understand it as a fact because they tell him they love him. However, the reason he is incapable of experiencing their love is not merely because he cannot be touched. The reason is also because he cannot get to understand emotions including those of love. More, so Christopher does not get attached to people or places, even though he feels safe around some people like his parents and this is the closest form of attachment he has ever known. Even so, this attachment, quite a few times, would take weeks or months to build despite how loyal people prove to be to him and it can be lost in an instance. For example, Christopher’s father lied to him about his mother and for this reason he never felt safe around him again. Christopher’s father had done so much for him in the past but this did not stop his son from distrusting him. This clearly indicates that Christopher cannot feel love from his parents. In addition, he felt that his father had betrayed him and he did not care to think why his father hid it from him that his mother had dies ( Haddon & Philpott, 2003 ). The book tells the reader that he wanted to protect him because he did not know how he would react. A normal person would have thought about it in different perspectives and try to understand where he was coming from. However, with his condition, Christopher could not think about all that. This shows that even if his parents loved him so much, he could not love them back even if he wanted to. 

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When Christopher ignored the policemen and started pressing his head on the floor, he clearly illustrated his queer behavior and the police were ignorant about his situation so their reaction leaves a lot to be desired. In case we were ignorant like the police, we would think that he was playing a trick on us, because we also would have caught him doing something wrong. More so, some people would think that Christopher was being strange and others would think that he was being childish. On the other hand, most people would have suspected that he was using drugs. Had the police been aware of his condition, they could have taken a better approach rather than harass him upsetting him even more. For instance, they could have been gentle with him instead of harassing him. Better yet, they could have taken him home to his father who understands him well. In addition, had the police known that Christopher had an abnormal condition; they would have contacted his father and questioned him on his behalf. This would have helped calm him down and not upset him further. In addition, such a step by the police would have made Christopher feel safe around them thus express empathy and remain calm. Consequently, had the police known about his condition, then they would have given him more time to explain himself. This would have stopped him from touching Christopher and the case would not have gone so far. 

In addition, if we were ignorant about Christopher’s condition, our first guess would be that he had killed wellington because he does not answer the police. Only a guilty person would keep quiet and worse still start groaning when the police are questioning them. To a normal person, this would mean that Christopher is indeed guilty. More so, people could have judged him based on the fact that he does not show any signs of remorse or empathy at all. Based on this, people would think that Christopher is an aggressive and very dangerous person who resents the authority. This would automatically prove his guilt. Moreover, if I were the policeman and had an encounter with Christopher for the first time in this scenario, I would think he is mentally ill. His reaction after a person dies and after being touched shows that he is not reasoning like a normal person. 

One of the disadvantages of being autistic is that one cannot intuit other people’s feelings or thoughts and this is illustrated where Christopher guesses what his mother might think was in the smartest tube. This is one of the most vivid expressions of this disorder in the novel. Another very vivid illustration of the same is in the incident where Christopher decided to leave his father because he lied to him about wellington’s death. This shows how irrational Christopher his because his father had been there all his life showing him love and loyalty yet he snapped immediately after the incident. Christopher cannot understand his father’s actions at all even if he tried. Normal people can at least try to figure out the reason behind his actions but Christopher is unable and incapable of understanding such a thing. 

In my view, Christopher does not openly suffer due to isolation or loneliness. However, I think that he suppresses his emotions and deep down he feels lonely because he acts so defensive when people question him of his indifference. In addition, Christopher suffers emotional pain after having read his mother’s letters but he is unable to express it because he nearly became unconscious after reading them. This is a sign that deep down he has feelings and he is affected by his mother’s absence in his life. However, his disorder makes him very hard to understand thus even though he suffers due to his mother’s absence, it looks like the biggest cause of him pain is due to the lie his father told him. All these incidences in the novel show that Christopher is so much like normal human beings because he has feelings and emotions too. The only difference between him and normal people is that he is unable to express how he feels about different situations and people. However, even with this conclusion, it is clear that Christopher foes not suffer due to relationships. Other issues affect him more than relationship issues do. 

Christopher clearly suffers from asperser’s syndrome as seen in the novel because he expresses himself in a very simple and straightforward manner and is incapable of understanding the natural signaling of human beings.thi is what makes me think that he likes isolation and it does not affect him in any way. For example, in two incidences in the novel, Christopher states that people are very confusing. He gave reasons for this by stating that people communicate even without uttering a word and that people mostly use metaphors to communicate. He does not agree with these two ways of communicating thus he clearly cannot have a very steady conversation with someone. In one incident in the novel, Siobhan explained to him that raising an eyebrow could mean wanting to have sex or expressing that the other party just said something stupid. This makes Christopher think that human beings contradict themselves by using these signals and this proves that he cannot related well with human beings if he cannot accept their ways of communication thus he enjoys isolation. 

More so, the novel illustrates that Christopher does not like hugs, he also does not understand different facial expressions and he can only express himself best through writing. His inability to express his feelings of love in the natural way may seem alienating and very tragic. People who do not understand him may think that he is capable of expressing feelings but he cannot. He focuses too much on teaching people about how they should express themselves that he forgets he is supposed to do the same too. He does not show love to his father as he cannot even hug him and he does not seem to care about his mother, however, he remembers how her mother smells and this is a very specific memory that only love can unravel. This shows that even if Christopher enjoys loneliness and isolation, he has feelings for his mother but he cannot express them because they are suppressed deep down in his thoughts. 


Haddon, M., & Philpott, D. (2003). The curious incident of the dog in the night-time (1st ed.). Toronto, Ont.: CNIB. 

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