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‘The Curious Incident of The Dog In the Night-Time’. Summary.

‘The Curious Incident of The Dog In the Night-Time’, a novel written by Mark Haddon about a fifteen-year-old named Christopher John Francis Boone, struggling with Asperger’s syndrome. After the discovery of his neighbor’s dead dog on the grass, Christopher wants to solve this murder and find the killer without any help from his surroundings. This is a long exaggerated investigation as Christopher struggles to understand how others are feeling during everyday social encounters. While Christopher loves being alone, he needs help in solving this mystery; however he is emotionless and fails to react to others opinions. This Novel is a frustrating experience due to our lack of ability to understand how Asperger’s affects the way Christopher views life which is something we are not used to.

Christopher has difficulty with understanding necessary human interactions which we take for granted. When merely saying Hi or how are you becomes a struggle for Christopher frustrates us as he is unable to realize what someone is saying and is unaware of how to respond appropriately. As mentioned in the novel Siobhan, Christopher’s teacher draws pictures of different emotions humans have, this way he can better understand social interactions. Due to his autism, he finds it hard to keep up with a simple conversation, as Mark Haddon writes ” But it was very difficult to decide which of the diagrams was most like the face they were making because people’s faces move very quickly”. Since Christopher has trouble keeping up with a simple conversation, it takes a long time for him to respond. Average humans that don’t have knowledge of Asperger’s and how it affects the way one thinks, we tend to get irritated as we feel like telling Christopher what to say. It gets more agitating when Christopher freezes because he is overwhelmed. We take this for granted because we don’t need to overthink about what is going on. Leaving us thinking about what could’ve happened if he had answered appropriately building further frustration.

Christopher is emotionless in certain situations and does not know how to react frustrating the readers as we are easily able to maturely handle situations. Christopher shows no emotion throughout the whole novel, keeping the tone very neutral and boring. Apart of the reason he takes a long time to react to a situation is because he is so bland, as he goes into depth about the most straightforward situations. Stating precisely how he feels as to what is going on step by step as if it is a process for him. It is obvious the author believes Christopher has no emotion when he states, “This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell you jokes because I don’t understand them”. This quote proves that Christopher is a very dull guy, this gets incredibly frustrating as we want to react for him. Think of how annoying it is when there is a crying baby, and the parents are not doing anything about it. The urge to want to tell the parents to make the baby stop crying is the same urge to want to tell Christopher to do something. The crying baby is an analogy to Christopher, the parents are like the society where they ignore the crying baby, but the bystanders are the ones listening to the baby crying like the readers are the ones getting annoyed. Our frustration comes from a lack of struggle in situations where we can react more efficiently.

Christopher prefers being on his own, handling problems his way where we tend to get help and rely on others making it frustrating to wait for him to think about what to do. This makes the novel interesting but boring as we get an insight of how he feels and what he does to avoid others. When Christopher wants to solve the murder of Mrs. Shear’s dog, he does everything he can to avoid getting help as he writes all the clues in his journal so thoroughly. Since we don’t have Asperger’s, we will never feel what it is like to live with the fear of interacting with others. As we enjoy being social and talking to others, our inability to realize how different he processes problems causes us to feel frustrated because we have to keep reading the same thing repeatedly. To express this feeling, Mark Haddon writes: «I think I would make a very good astronaut. To be a good astronaut, you have to be intelligent, and I’m intelligent. You also have to understand how machines work and I’m good at understanding how machines work. You also have to be someone who would like being on their own in a tiny spacecraft thousands and thousands of miles away…».

When Christopher’s pet rat Toby runs onto the train tracks, he quickly jumps onto the tracks himself to save his rat. While all of this is going on everyone at the subway is screaming at Christopher trying to help him, due to trust issues with others he ignores them and tries to escape by himself. Even when a man pulled Christopher out of the tracks and saved his life, he felt as if the man was abusing him, so Christopher hit him. This is dissatisfying because Christopher is unable to get help from anyone. It’s frustrating to see how Christopher prefers to handle his problems by himself causing it to be dragged out rather than get help from his surroundings.

If we had a better understanding of the mentality one has with Asperger’s syndrome this novel would not be as frustrating. However, this book would not be the same if it wasn’t written from the perspective of someone with autism. It’s almost as if it is meant to make the reader frustrated; this will allow them to see how hard it is to have the actual syndrome and to have to cope with it. Most of the frustration comes from the novel being one tone with no exciting event. In this story, the only main character is Christopher making it boring how everything is about him and only him. It’s irritating at how long he takes to understand the most basic human communications especially when he makes everything important and have significance. It’s agitating seeing how he is held back by fear and quickly gets overwhelmed by talking to someone. It’s frustrating because we are not Christopher.

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