The Curious Incident Of The Dog Essay

The Curious Incident Of The Dog Essay

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Two Worlds of Difference
Marc Haddon’s novel, the curious incident of the dog in the night-time, is a true Bildungsroman novel, a story that chronicles the coming-of-age of a central character. However, Haddon’s novel is refreshingly unique from typical tales of adventure and self-discovery. The novel turns to everyday life to communicate the story of Christopher John Francis Boone, the fifteen-year-old, autistic narrator. Instead of a dastardly antagonist, the staggering differences between the novel’s two physical settings of Swindon and London present many obstacles for the narrator and give rise to the evolution and development of Christopher’s character throughout the novel.
Christopher’s journey from the enclosed suburbs of Swindon to the bustling city of London exposes to him to an overwhelming sense of unfamiliarity, prompting him to gain practical and essential life skills that allow him to live independently. Lost in a London train station, Christopher explains “I did detecting by watching and I saw that…people were buying tickets at big black machines on the wall. And I watched 47 people do this and I memorized what to do. Then I imagined a red line on the floor and I walked over to the wall” (Haddon 173). Sheltered by his father in Swindon, a small neighborhood where each house sits in a neat row along the block, Christopher has no knowledge of how to function in an urban environment that is structurally diverse and overwhelmingly chaotic. Because of his setting, he is forced to embrace his situation, using what skills he does possess to overcome the physical and mental challenges of unfamiliarity. In the instance of the quotation, Christopher utilizes his skill in critical observation, his interest in detection, and...


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...nly the result of Christopher’s own limited personal beliefs, and they do not inherently exist. Put differently, the setting of the novel forces Christopher to embrace his fears, but the central conflict of the novel ultimately lies within Christopher himself. Without having to overcome the obstacles in his setting, Christopher would have never achieved his goal of finding his mother. More importantly, he also would have never realized or addressed the flaws in his character. Most intriguingly, however, the lessons Christopher learns through overcoming the differences between the two settings of the novel ultimately allows him to bring the contrasting worlds of Swindon and London together. In discovering the truth and traveling to London, Christopher reconciles his shattered past, bringing both his father and mother, Swindon and London, into the story of his life.

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