The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Chapter 211 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As the train makes more stops, Christopher begins to worry that he’s going to stay on too long and miss London, but he doesn’t want to leave his hiding place and run into the policeman. He watches people going into the bathroom, and sometimes people see him on the luggage rack and make rude comments. Finally, the train stops and doesn’t start moving again, so Christopher gets down from the shelf. His bag is gone. He sees another policeman in the next carriage, so he gets off the train to avoid him.
Although Christopher did not get in the luggage rack with the intention of hiding from the policeman, he decides to take advantage of this effect. However, for someone who always likes to be aware of his physical surroundings, he has become notably disoriented by traveling on the train. The other passengers’ comments serve as a reminder of how people treat others doing anything out of the ordinary.
Themes
Logic vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Perspective and the Absurdity of the World Theme Icon
Christopher finds himself in a huge, loud train station. He’s overwhelmed at first, but he imagines a red line leading away from the train and follows it. He reaches a gate where a man tells him that a policeman is looking for him. When the man goes to find the policeman, Christopher walks away and leans against the wall of a shop. He looks at all the signs around him, but there are so many that they get all mixed up in his mind until he can’t read them. He counts to fifty and holds onto his knife for safety.
Christopher continues to effectively use strategies such as imagining a line to deal with his fear of large, busy places. The man at the gate highly underestimates Christopher, apparently believing that his complacency means he’ll go calmly with the police. Although Christopher’s fear is mainly due to sensory overstimulation, he clutches his knife, which can only help with physical threats. Still, it seems to comfort him.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Perspective and the Absurdity of the World Theme Icon
Christopher makes his hand into a tube and looks through it so that he can only see one sign at a time. This allows him to find the sign for the information desk. A man comes up to him and says Christopher looks lost, but he retreats when Christopher takes out his knife. Christopher goes to the information desk and asks whether he’s in London. The woman confirms that he is, and when he gives her the address of his mother’s flat, the woman tells him which tube station is closest. She’s astonished when Christopher doesn’t know what the tube is, but she directs him to the entrance.
Here, Christopher creates another way to deal with the overwhelming amount of information that the modern world bombards everyone with daily. His fear of strangers and inability to judge their intentions makes him threaten a man who probably would have helped him kindly. Instead, he seeks help from the person he knows is specifically delegated to give it—the information desk attendant—because he can categorize her as such in his mind.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Trust Theme Icon
Perspective and the Absurdity of the World Theme Icon
Christopher pretends all the people around him are cows and walks to the escalators holding onto his knife and Toby in his pockets. He’s never seen escalators before, so he goes down the stairs instead. In the tube station, he sits in a passport photo booth and watches people through the curtain. By observing, he figures out how to buy a ticket and go through the ticket gates. He buys a ticket to Willesden Green at a machine, puts it through the ticket slot, and goes through the gates. He likes the gates because they remind him of a science fiction film.
In this strange and frightening environment, Christopher clings to his knife, a symbol of safety, and his rat, for whom he feels a sense of responsibility. Christopher moves through the station seeing everything with a sense of newness and wonder, even if this newness frightens him, too. His powers of observation serve him well as he patiently figures out how to get through the ticket gates, another obstacle to overcome.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Perspective and the Absurdity of the World Theme Icon
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Christopher sees a sign showing all the stops on the Bakerloo Line, including Willesden Junction, where he’s supposed to go. He walks down the tunnel where the sign directs him, and then he has no choice but to go down an escalator. People are all around him, and he wants to hit them but he doesn’t, because he knows he’ll get in trouble with the police.
On this journey, Christopher is immediately asked to face fears he has only just discovered. While he avoided the escalator before, he now has to take one, but among so many new experiences, he hardly even seems to mind. Furthermore, he has learned to control his urge to lash out at people who are too close to him.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Christopher ends up in another, smaller station in a tunnel. He reads the advertisements on the walls and sits down on a bench. The station becomes crowded, and he starts groaning and feels sick. Suddenly there’s a loud roaring and a wind, and he closes his eyes, thinking something terrible is happening. The noise quiets, and Christopher sees everyone getting on the train that has arrived. The train leaves, but Christopher is terrified and wants to be home. Then he remembers that he can’t go home because his father lied to him. The trains come again and again, and Christopher sits on the bench feeling horribly sick.
This fear of the tube trains disables Christopher more than anything else on his trip. In fact, with the sensations that Christopher describes, he almost seems like the most rational one on the platform—it seems everyone else should be as terrified as he is. But of course, everyone else understands what’s happening and is used to it. Christopher again has a physical reaction to his fear, and finds that he has nowhere safe to turn.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Trust Theme Icon
Truth, Love, and Safety Theme Icon
Perspective and the Absurdity of the World Theme Icon