Hannibal Free Public Library

 Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Mark Haddon

May 24,2010

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. He detests the color yellow. He is a fan of Sherlock Holmes, and when a dog in the neighborhood is killed, he sets out to solve the crime, with unexpected results.  

Mark Haddon is a writer and illustrator of numerous award-winning children’s books and television screenplays. As a young man, Haddon worked with autistic individuals. He teaches creative writing for the Arvon Foundation and at Oxford University . He lives in Oxford , England .  

Discussion Questions:  

  1. Christopher explains why he doesn’t like yellow and brown, and admits that such decisions are, in part, a way to simplify the world and make choices easier. Why does he need to make the world simpler?
  2. Which aspects of life does Christopher find unbearably complicated or stressful?
  3. How much understanding does Christopher have of his own emotions?
  4. How much understanding does Christopher have of the impact his “Behavioral Problems” have on others?  
  5. Given Christopher’s aversion to being touched, can he experience his parents’ love for him, or can he only understand it as a fact, because they tell him they love him? 
  6. Is there any evidence in the novel that Christopher experiences a sense of attachment to other people?
  7. Does Mr. Jeavons, Christopher’s teacher, underestimate the complexity of Christopher’s mind and his responses to intellectual stimulation?
  8. Does Siobhan understand Christopher better than Mr. Jeavons?  Better than his parents?
  9. Think about what Christopher says about metaphors and lies and their relationship to novels. Why is lying such an alien concept to him?
  10. Why is Christopher’s life shattered by the realization that he couldn’t trust his father, because his father had lied to him about a big thing?
  11. Why do “normal” human beings in the novel, like Christopher’s parents, find lies so indispensable? Why is the idea of truth so central to Christopher’s narration?
  12. Which scenes are comical in this novel, and why are they funny? Are these situations also sad, or exasperating?  Did the ending surprise you?
  13. How much empathy does the reader come to feel for Christopher? 

 Questions adapted from  http://www.randomhouse.com