Matthew Masotto

Summer Reading Smore

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Hadden

Opening Information

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, a novel written by Mark Haddon in 2003, is the story of a 14 year old autistic boy trying to solve the mystery of who killed the neighborhood dog, along with the mysteries within his own life.
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Setting

This story takes place mostly in Swindon, Wiltshire with events dating around the late 1990s. Christopher resides in a house along on a fictional road called Randolph Street, with his father and his rat Toby. Christopher's neighborhood is described as a quite suburban area which could possibly symbolize the innocence Christopher possesses at the start of the novel. And as the setting of the story changes, so does Christopher, perhaps losing some of that innocence. Such as when Christopher leaves home, to London, in search of his mother and answers to many blank spots in his life.

Synopsis

Christopher, a 14 year old boy with autism lives a somewhat quiet life alongside his father and pet rat Toby, until the night where his neighbor's dog is killed with a pitchfork. Christopher makes it his own personal mission to solve the injustices of this dog's murder and in the process of doing so he finds out many things he was unaware of in the past. He finds letters from his mother, who according to his father had been dead for many years and finds out who killed the dog Wellington, his own father. He learns of his mother's affair with Mr. Shears, the ex husband of the woman who owned the dog and he learns of his mother's departure to London. Overwhelmed, but fueled by these discoveries, he starts his own journey to London to find his long lost mother and escape from his father and the instability that infected his home life.
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Theme

One major theme in this story is the loss of innocence associated with a lack of stability. Though Christopher is diagnosed with a form of autism, it is not uncommon for some of his behaviors and reactions to the events occurring in his life. Christopher starts out the story almost completely innocent, but makes somewhat of an evolution into a less naive person, despite his diagnosis. In the story, Christopher deals with two types of a loss of stability, both internal and external. He lacks mental stability; and with the recent murder of a neighborhood dog, and finding out who exactly committed the crime, he lacks the stability in his home life. Christopher becomes fearful of his father and his home.

Symbolism

Symbolism is a common literary device within this story, mostly those that have to do with innocence and the loss of it. The dog Wellington is a major symbol for innocence; being that the dog is perfectly fine, and once the dog is killed, a series of events unfold in Christopher's life causing him to shed the innocence he once carried.
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