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

Mark Haddon

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time | Chapters 227–229 | Summary



Chapter 227

Christopher keeps his eyes closed, groaning, for five hours. When he opens his eyes again he cannot find Toby. He gets up to search for him and sees him on the train tracks. As he climbs onto the track, people start shouting at him to get back because a train is approaching. Not paying them any attention, Christopher continues to chase after Toby. He sees the lights of the train and wonders if he's going to die. A man grabs him by the shoulders and pulls him back onto the platform, just as Christopher grabs hold of Toby's tail. Christopher screams and fights against the man saving him, and threatens to stab another passenger with his knife.

After that, everyone is shocked but leaves him alone. He lets eight trains pass before boarding the ninth. When he reaches his mother's stop, he exits and buys a street map from a corner store. Using the map, he navigates his way to his mother's street. When he reaches the address, no one is home, so he waits until nightfall. He hears arguing in the distance and recognizes his mother's voice. When she sees Christopher, she rushes toward him and hugs him, which he fights against. Mr. Shears is appalled by Christopher's unannounced visit and makes it very clear Christopher isn't welcome. When Mrs. Boone asks why Christopher never wrote her back, he tells her about Father's lie. Outraged, Mrs. Boone wails and begs Christopher to let her hold his hand, which he refuses.

A police officer arrives saying Mr. Boone is looking for Christopher, but doesn't press the matter when it's proved Mrs. Boone is Christopher's mother. Exhausted, Christopher falls asleep and is woken up by his father's voice shouting. Mr. Boone bursts into the bedroom and apologizes over and over, but Christopher still feels afraid and won't respond. Mr. and Mrs. Boone fight viciously about their relationship and all the lies between them. When Mr. Boone leaves in tears, Christopher falls peacefully back to sleep.

Chapter 229

While he sleeps, Christopher has one of his "favorite" dreams in which everyone on Earth with a "normal" mind dies, and the only people left are "special like me." In this world Christopher can go anywhere he chooses without worrying people will talk to him or touch him. In the dream Christopher feels happy.


In the novel's climax, Christopher faces the most intense stress of his life. At the train station, he "feels like [he is] going to die." He has two options: fight for what he wants, his mother in London, or return home. Christopher struggles physically and emotionally to get to London, overcoming obstacles that would have normally sidelined him. The station is crowded, and he is being touched, doesn't know where he's going, must use a public toilet, and doesn't quite understand how to do very basic things like get money out of an ATM or buy a train ticket. Yet despite everything, Christopher somehow manages to find his mother. In doing so, Christopher proves to himself that even though he's different, he can do just about anything if he perseveres.

But Christopher doesn't do it entirely on his own. The police officer helps him with the ticket, for example, and the passersby saves him from the oncoming train. While he still has a long way to go to be able to survive he learns an important lesson: the complex world can be more easily navigated with the help of equally complex people.

In London the reader sees the Boone family dynamics play out for the first time. Mrs. Boone, clearly desperate to reconnect with her son, immediately steps in as his caregiver despite what Mr. Shears thinks. While Mrs. Boone's abandonment might have seemed selfish, when faced with the life she left behind and the tremendous guilt she carries, Mrs. Boone acts fast to preserve her damaged, tenuous relationship with Christopher. In contrast Mr. Boone becomes increasingly desperate as he realizes the relationship with Christopher he spent a lifetime building has been destroyed. Their parental roles are inverted as Mrs. Boone becomes Christopher's primary caregiver and, emotionally speaking, Mr. Boone is "dead" to him.

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