The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time | Study Guide

Mark Haddon

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Course Hero, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed December 12, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Curious-Incident-of-the-Dog-in-the-Night-Time/.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time | Chapters 101–113 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 101

Christopher's psychologist, Mr. Jeavons, suggests Christopher likes math because "there's always a straightforward answer at the end." Christopher suggests life also follows logic and describes a mathematical proof called "The Monty Hall Problem" to prove his point.

Chapter 103

When Christopher arrives home, his father is having dinner with a friend, Rhodri, who frequently laughs at Christopher's strange behavior. This deeply upsets Christopher, and Mr. Boone tries to explain Rhodri is just being friendly. Christopher sits in the garden and writes down all the details he experiences—sights, sounds, smells, and feelings—claiming them all to be of equal interest.

Chapter 107

Christopher describes the plot of his favorite mystery, "The Hound of the Baskervilles." He likes the story because it's full of "red herrings," clues that prove to be false leads, which he describes in detail. Christopher especially appreciates descriptions of Sherlock Holmes, finding similarities with himself, which he takes to mean he would also make an excellent detective.

Chapter 109

At school Siobhan reads what Christopher has written in his book and is alarmed by Mrs. Alexander's accusation of an affair between Mr. Shears and Christopher's mother. She tells Christopher it's probably best if he doesn't speak about this with his father, and if he has any questions he can speak to her. Christopher says it doesn't matter anymore because his mother is dead and Mr. Shears is gone, so being sad about it would be "stupid."

Chapter 113

Christopher describes his mind much like a computer, with memories stored like files he can search through and retrieve. He remembers things exactly as they occurred, with all the details, as if he was watching a film. This helps explain his ease solving mathematical equations and remembering scientific facts. He thinks about his mother and remembers a time when they were swimming in Cornwall and she jumped into the water. Christopher thought she had been eaten by a shark. He recognizes some people have the ability to imagine scenarios which have never occurred, something he cannot do.

Analysis

This section contains many tangents which serve primarily to give the reader insight into Christopher's mind but also to add layers of "clues" into the mystery surrounding Wellington's death. For example, Chapter 101 describes at length a mathematical proof called "The Monty Hall Problem," in which Christopher concludes people who follow their intuition rather than logic are frequently wrong. Yet given the previous revelations about Mrs. Boone's unconvincing death and affair, coupled with various characters' surprise at the news of Mrs. Boone's death, the novel suggests there is more to the story than Christopher's reasoning allows. Logic cannot solve all problems, a lesson Christopher teaches the reader but seems unwilling to apply.

Readers intuit Christopher hasn't been told the whole truth. When Christopher dissects the structural elements of the Sherlock Holmes murder mystery "The Hound of the Baskervilles" in Chapter 107, he subtly reminds readers to be on the lookout for incorrect assumptions in his own story. He also self-consciously points out the need for a novel to have descriptive passages before he launches into attempts to vividly build the world around him; such details are not intuitive for him to include as they have no place in the logical building of the narrative. He includes them because he, or perhaps the author, Haddon, understands a reader's needs. Each of these self-referential details classify the novel as postmodern, in which the narrator is actively aware of story characteristics and literary devices used to keep readers engaged.

Christopher's memory of his mother in Chapter 113 provides metaphorical foreshadowing: he mistakenly thinks his mother is gone forever. Christopher's not-always-logical mind jumps to the conclusion his mother has been eaten by a shark even though there are "no sharks in Cornwall." This imagining parallels his understanding of imagination. Christopher doesn't give himself enough credit in his ability to see things that aren't there, or perhaps he takes false pride in his truthful nature.

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