Literary Analysis Essay on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Published: 2021-08-11
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Boston College
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The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon is a fiction story involving the narrator Christopher Johns Francis Boone who is fifteen years of age. The setting is in Swindon town in England. Christopher discovers the body of his neighbor's dog Wellington, and he is determined to unearth the person who killed it. In this process of investigation, he encounters helpers who assist him towards achieving his objective however his progress is a time hampered by his autism disorder (Haddon p.63). Autism limits his ability to communicate and interact with the scene of crime Christopher hits police officers an offense that lands him in custody. He is however released and given a harsh warning through his father restraining him from getting involved in the investigation again.

Despite the warning Christopher from his father and the police officers he continues with his investigation and makes it part of his school assignment (Haddon p.63). The narrator conducts interviews with the residents around the neighborhood, and in the course of his activity, he discovers that the owner of the dog Mrs. Shears and his father Ed Boone are having a romantic affair.

Mark Haddon was born in England in 1962, and he holds a master's degree in English literature. After school, he did odd jobs to earn a living, and in the course of the several duties he did, he worked with an organization for children who had physical and mental disabilities (Haddon p.63). He also worked as an illustrator and cartoonist and became popular in the British publications. His working with children is what motivated him to work and write stories based on children accounts. Besides, the fictional tale The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' was driven by his experience in working with children with autism earlier after school.

The author uses symbolism to represent situations surrounding his characters' lives.The murder investigation symbolizes Christophers search for the truth about his mother after being lied to by his father (Haddon p.63). Before the investigation, he knew that his mother had died as he was told by his father. It, therefore, brings in two investigations that need the truth to be revealed. Besides, the investigation into the death of Wellington uncovers the secret romantic affair between Ed and Mrs. Shears (Haddon p.63). Christopher's father's deception acts as a crime in itself because the mother was not dead. Ed lies to his son because of the pain of being left by his wife that he decides to counter with a lie while in the real sense she was still alive and in London. Mrs. Shears husband also kills their dog because of the pain of breaking off from his wife (Haddon p.63). Haddon has used the murder investigation to reveal the truth about what is hidden the love affairs that went sour. The murder of the dog could also represent the dead of love between the two coupes Mrs. Shears love life on one hand and Ed Boone on the other.

The use of symbolism has been widely used by the author to represent different situations. He uses logic puzzles, math problems and maps to symbolize Christophers part of life that is organized and sensible (Tustin p.112). It is portrayed when Christopher uses this symbols when he encounters a situation that he is not able to understand. He uses this item to organize his life and find the truth about what he feels is no right. For instance his use of the Monty Hall problem to explain why his instincts about Mr. Shears was wrong. Christopher uses them to obtain a sense of security although he frequently uses them when he encounters a problem and a situation that he does not understand. He uses maps to find the Swindon railway station and upon his arrival in London he still uses them to locate his mother (Tustin p.112). Besides, he uses them to search his neighborhood when investigating about the death of Wellington

Haddon writes about an autistic child although he has little knowledge about the disorder. He does not formally write about it because he uses the scanty information he obtained from reading articles and magazines concerning the disorder (Gibert p.241). He does not center autism as the theme of the story but uses it only to represent a situation of one of his main characters Christopher. It is written from the point of view about a child who has Asperger's syndrome. It implies therefore that the author uses real-life situation to explain his theme of the story. He writes in detail about a child with autism with limited knowledge because of his passion for children from his prior experiences after school when he worked with children with disabilities. Perhaps the skills in his background are what made him write a lot about a child with autism. Similarly writing about autism with insufficient knowledge depicts his ability to develop a literary piece from the little that he has this brings out aspects of technique and expertise in the literature (Gibert p.241). He writes with little knowledge of autism to make the reader have interest in reading it more and wanting to find a motivation behind the piece.

The author connects the reality in life about a child with autism and parents who are divorced to bring them on the challenges that children especially those with disabilities go through upon disintegration of a family (Haddon p.63). He also uses it to explain how the children with such disorder scope with life. He describes how they create their world of living which suits their capacity. Additionally, Haddon portrays children with autism disorder as unique and need attention and understanding. For instance, when Christopher hits a police officer he is taken into custody but released because of his condition but upon a warning given to him by his father and the police.

The use of Sherlock Holmes who are the greatest detectives in the word indicates the need to observe the law and to bring a picture of the legal system and how they work (Starrett p.89). The author suggests that when a crime is committed the law will catch up with criminals. It brings the reality in life where the land operates under the law, and it cannot be separated from the daily lives people. It is important to note that the author has developed fictions story to bring the reality of what people go through in life (Starrett p.89). Haddon has used the shared experiences that people encounter every day in their lives to make his story to be easily understood because people can relate

Works Cited

Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. National Geographic Books, 2007.

Gilbert, Ruth. "Watching the Detectives: Mark Haddons The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Kevin Brooks Martyn Pig." Children's Literature in Education 36.3 (2005): 241-253.

Tustin, Frances. Autistic states in children. Routledge, 2013.

Starrett, Vincent. The private life of Sherlock Holmes. Open Road Media, 2014.

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