The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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Ed, Christopher’s father, runs a heating maintenance and boiler repair business. Although Judy thinks of him as being very even-tempered with Christopher, he does kill Wellington out of anger and gets angry with Christopher quite often as Christopher investigates the murder. Ed hopes to start a life with Mrs. Shears after Judy and Mr. Shears run away together, but this does not work out, which makes him bitter. He advocates for Christopher to be able to take the Maths A level, and he tries hard to let Christopher live his life in whatever way works for Christopher. For example, he lets Christopher eat what he wants, since Christopher will otherwise stop eating altogether. Ed tries to do his best for Christopher, but he fails him particularly in dealing with Judy’s departure. Ed lies to Christopher, telling him that Judy has died, and hiding her letters to him. Ed later heartily regrets this decision, but he has already lost Christopher’s hard-earned trust. At the end of the book, he works to regain this trust, and begins to succeed by giving Christopher a dog.

Ed Boone (Christopher’s father) Quotes in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time quotes below are all either spoken by Ed Boone (Christopher’s father) or refer to Ed Boone (Christopher’s father). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Growing Up Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time published in 2004.
Chapter 67 Quotes

Mr. Shears used to be married to Mrs. Shears and they lived together until two years ago. Then Mr. Shears left and didn’t come back. This was why Mrs. Shears came over and did lots of cooking for us after Mother died, because she didn’t have to cook for Mr. Shears anymore and she didn’t have to stay at home and be his wife. And also Father said that she needed company and didn’t want to be on her own.

And sometimes Mrs. Shears stayed overnight at our house...

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Ed Boone (Christopher’s father), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother), Eileen Shears, Roger Shears
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

When Christopher leaves Mrs. Alexander’s house, he’s thinking about the mystery and realizes that Mr. Shears should be his prime suspect, because Mr. Shears didn’t like Mrs. Shears and might have wanted to hurt her. This passage actually provides much of the background needed to solve the mystery, but Christopher approaches it from the wrong angle. Mr. Shears left around the same time Judy supposedly died, and Mrs. Shears became close to Ed in the aftermath. These are the fundamental clues needed to figure out that Mr. Shears actually left with Judy, Ed hoped to take up with Mrs. Shears, and he became angry when she refused him. Thus, Christopher unwittingly provides the reader with the clues needed to solve the mystery, even though he doesn’t realize they’re clues. The matter-of-fact way in which Christopher presents these circumstances shows how oblivious he can sometimes be to the nuances in the relationships of the adults around him.

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Chapter 137 Quotes

And Father said, “Christopher, do you understand that I love you?”

And I said “Yes,” because loving someone is helping them when they get into trouble, and looking after them, and telling them the truth, and Father looks after me when I get into trouble, like coming to the police station, and he looks after me by cooking meals for me, and he always tells the truth, which means that he loves me.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Ed Boone (Christopher’s father) (speaker)
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

After Ed finds Christopher’s book and they get in a physical fight over Christopher’s investigations, Ed takes Christopher to the zoo as an apology. The above conversation takes place at the zoo. This book is largely about love, and so Christopher’s definition of love is necessary to an understanding of later events. He defines love in terms of actions rather than feelings, which makes sense, since he always struggles to understand emotions, be they his own or other people’s. Just because Christopher explains love in this seemingly stilted, action-based way doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t feel the emotion of love, but only that he can’t describe the feeling.

Crucially, one of Christopher’s main criteria for love is telling the truth. He believes Ed loves him because he tells him the truth. Thus, when Christopher finds out later that Ed has in fact lied to him for two years about his mother, this seriously brings into question his father’s love for him. Christopher can’t understand that Ed might lie to Christopher precisely because he loves him.

Chapter 157 Quotes

And I couldn’t walk properly for a month, do you remember, and your father had to look after you. And I remember looking at the two of you and seeing you together and thinking how you were really different with him. Much calmer. And you didn’t shout at one another. And it made me so sad because it was like you didn’t really need me at all.

Related Characters: Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother) (speaker), Christopher John Francis Boone, Ed Boone (Christopher’s father)
Page Number: 108-109
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage comes from one of Judy’s letters to Christopher, in which she reminds him of an incident where they got in an argument and he threw a cutting board, which broke her toes. At this point, she was having an affair with Mr. Shears, but didn’t want to leave Ed because that would mean leaving Christopher. This passage, then, explains her justification for finally leaving. Judy wants to believe that leaving was the right choice, not just for herself, but also for Christopher. She felt crippled not only physically, but also in terms of her ability to mother him. She wanted to be an absolutely necessary part of Christopher’s life, someone without whom he couldn’t thrive, but she decided that she was not fulfilling this role.

This passage provides a view into Judy’s inner turmoil and pain over being Christopher’s mother. Additionally, however, it raises the question of whether Christopher really does need Judy. Before he finds her letters, he does seem to be living a complete, relatively happy life alone with Ed. However, this life is based upon a lie, and it is the very existence of the lie and Ed’s choice to tell it that proves that the family does, in fact, need Judy.

Mother had not had a heart attack. Mother had not died. Mother had been alive all the time. And Father had lied about this.

I tried really hard to think if there was any other explanation but I couldn’t think of one. And then I couldn’t think of anything at all because my brain wasn’t working properly.

I felt giddy. It was like the room was swinging from side to side, as if it was at the top of a really tall building and the building was swinging backward and forward in a strong wind (this is a simile, too). But I knew that the room couldn’t be swinging backward and forward, so it must have been something which was happening inside my head.

I rolled onto the bed and curled up in a ball.

My stomach hurt.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Ed Boone (Christopher’s father), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother)
Page Number: 112-13
Explanation and Analysis:

This is the essential moment in the book at which Christopher, having read a number of the letters that his mother sent to him and his father hid from him, realizes that Ed has lied about Judy’s death. This would obviously be an extremely traumatic experience for anyone, but Christopher in particular needs the truth in order to feel safe and secure in his life. Furthermore, he needs to be able to trust people completely in order to feel comfortable around them. His mother being alive is enough of a shock, but on top of that, he has to deal with the fact that Ed, whom he thought he could trust more than anyone because Ed loves him, has deceived him to an enormous degree.

With these basic facts of Christopher’s life suddenly uprooted, the shock prevents him from thinking properly, and since logic is another pillar of his existence, he begins to feel completely disoriented. He experiences a physical reaction to the psychological trauma, and begins to feel sick.

Chapter 167 Quotes

I want you to know that you can trust me. And... OK, maybe I don’t tell the truth all the time. God knows, I try, Christopher, God knows I do, but... Life is difficult, you know. It’s bloody hard telling the truth all the time. Sometimes it’s impossible. And I want you to know that I’m trying, I really am. And perhaps this is not a very good time to say this, and I know you’re not going to like it, but... You have to know that I am going to tell you the truth from now on. About everything. Because... if you don’t tell the truth now, then later on... later on it hurts even more. So.... I killed Wellington, Christopher.

Related Characters: Ed Boone (Christopher’s father) (speaker), Christopher John Francis Boone, Wellington
Related Symbols: Dogs
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

After Christopher realizes that his father has lied about his mother’s death, he becomes ill and won’t speak to Ed. Ed tries to help him, but when Christopher doesn’t break his silence, Ed promises to tell him the truth in the future. He has realized the damage that his lies have done. Maybe he even knew before that they would eventually cause pain, and yet lying seemed the easiest course to take at that moment. In his remorse, he decides that ending all lies immediately will be the best way to regain Christopher’s trust. In this moment, the murderer turns himself in, but Ed was the last person Christopher expected he was hunting down. As the repercussions of Ed’s confession unroll, the question becomes whether his choice to tell the entire truth in this moment is a wise one. Christopher is not prepared to so completely lose his trust in his father and caregiver, and it takes a great emotional toll on him. Can lying ever be the kinder choice?

I had to get out of the house. Father had murdered Wellington. That meant he could murder me, because I couldn’t trust him, even though he had said “Trust me,” because he had told a lie about a big thing.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Ed Boone (Christopher’s father), Wellington
Related Symbols: Dogs
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

After Christopher reads his mother’s letters, Ed finds him and realizes the impact that his lies have had on his son. As a result, he decides he has to be completely honest from now on, so he tells Christopher that he killed Wellington. Rather than taking this as an indication of his father’s honesty, however, Christopher’s logic tells him that if his father is a murderer, he might murder Christopher next. Ed’s confession has completely backfired—he wanted Christopher to be able to trust him, but instead Christopher trusts him less than ever. Ed essentially told Christopher lies and killed Wellington out of a desire to protect Christopher as best he could, even if his own anger and sense of betrayal did play a part. For Christopher, Ed’s motivation in these acts makes no difference, if he’s even aware of it, which it seems he might not be. Ed’s actions speak louder than any emotions, and Christopher no longer feels safe in the presence of someone whom he can’t trust to tell the truth.

Chapter 227 Quotes

And then she made a loud wailing noise like an animal on a nature program on television.

And I didn’t like her doing this because it was a loud noise, and I said, “Why are you doing that?”

And she didn’t say anything for a while, and then she said, “Oh, Christopher, I’m so sorry.”

And I said, “It’s not your fault.”

And then she said, “Bastard. The bastard.”

And then, after a while, she said, “Christopher, let me hold your hand. Just for once. Just for me. Will you? I won’t hold it hard,” and she held out her hand.

And I said, “I don’t like people holding my hand.”

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother) (speaker), Ed Boone (Christopher’s father)
Page Number: 193-94
Explanation and Analysis:

After Christopher arrives at his mother’s flat, she has him take a bath, and she sits in the bathroom with him while Christopher explains that Ed told him she had died. Her response in this passage shows the deep pain that exists in all the relationships in Christopher’s family, a pain so awful that it can be expressed in no better way than a wordless wail.

When Christopher likens Judy’s wail to that of a wild animal, he gives her emotion a primal quality, connecting it to some deep maternal instinct to protect her son. However, her attempt to soothe her own pain fails, as Christopher refuses to hold her hand. Furthermore, this episode shows the difficulty that Judy has connecting with her son. She needs physical contact to get them both through this awful moment, but physical contact would only make Christopher lash out or feel unsafe.

And Mother shouted, “What in God’s name did you think you were playing at, saying those things to him?”

And Father shouted, “What was I playing at? You were the one that bloody left.”

And Mother shouted, “So you decided to just wipe me out of his life altogether?... I wrote to him every week. Every week.”

And Father shouted, “Wrote to him? What the fuck use is writing to him?... I cooked his meals. I cleaned his clothes. I looked after him every weekend. I looked after him when he was ill. I took him to the doctor. I worried myself sick every time he wandered off somewhere at night. I went to school every time he got in a fight. And you? What? You wrote him some fucking letters.”

And Mother shouted, “So you thought it was OK to tell him his mother was dead?”

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Ed Boone (Christopher’s father) (speaker), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother) (speaker)
Page Number: 196-97
Explanation and Analysis:

At Judy’s flat, Christopher wakes up in the middle of the night to find that Ed has arrived, and he and Judy are arguing. In this passage, the conflict and the heartache that Christopher’s parents have endured becomes evident. Both of them have made grave mistakes in their parenting. Judy has expressed her feelings of guilt at leaving in her letters, and Ed has expressed his feelings of guilt at lying in his conversation with Christopher. Thus, although each accuses the other of failing as a parent in this argument and tries to defend their own actions, the reader knows that they both are very conscious of their mistakes. When confronted with their mistakes in this way, however, both Judy and Ed lash out, showing the pain that lies in their relationships with each other, with Christopher, and with themselves.

Chapter 233 Quotes

...Father said, “Christopher, look... You have to learn to trust me... And I don’t care how long it takes... Because this is important. This is more important than anything else... Let’s call it a project....You have to spend more time with me. And I... I have to show you that you can trust me... And, um... I’ve got you a present. To show you that I really mean what I say. And to say sorry. And because... well, you’ll see what I mean.”

Then he got out of the armchair and he walked over to the kitchen door and opened it and there was a big cardboard box on the floor... and he took a little sandy-colored dog out.

Then he came back through and gave me the dog...

Then Father said, “Christopher, I would never, ever do anything to hurt you.”

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Ed Boone (Christopher’s father) (speaker), Sandy
Related Symbols: Dogs
Page Number: 218-19
Explanation and Analysis:

Christopher hasn’t been speaking to his father ever since Ed admitted to killing Wellington, and he has remained fearful of him. Finally, Ed insists that Christopher allow him five minutes to talk. Ed’s dialogue shows the pain of his son’s terror of him, and his sincere need to repair the relationship. Ed acknowledges that he and Christopher both have to work to rebuild Christopher’s trust in Ed. In giving Christopher a dog, Ed apologizes for killing Wellington and symbolically reincarnates him. Furthermore, dogs have acted as a marker of Christopher’s physical and emotional safety throughout the novel. Thus, Ed’s gift shows Christopher that he is safe and can trust Ed to protect that safety.

Additionally, the dog replaces Toby, who has recently died, as Christopher’s pet. Since a dog requires a lot more care and has more personality than a rat, the gift of the dog represents Christopher’s growth over the course of the story and welcomes him into the next, more mature stage of his life.

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Ed Boone (Christopher’s father) Character Timeline in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The timeline below shows where the character Ed Boone (Christopher’s father) appears in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 23
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...watch, but let him keep it when he screams at them. He gives the police his father ’s phone number, and they put him in a jail cell. (full context)
Chapter 31
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At 1:12 a.m., Christopher’s father, Ed, arrives at the police station, and Christopher hears him shouting at the policemen. Eventually, a... (full context)
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...trouble again, circumstances will be more serious. He’s given his possessions back, and he and his father go home. (full context)
Chapter 41
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...making his father come to the police station, and tells him he didn’t kill Wellington. Ed tells Christopher to stay out of other people’s business, but Christopher insists that a murder... (full context)
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...his record time by three seconds. He eventually goes downstairs for a drink and finds Ed crying. Christopher assumes he’s sad about Wellington’s death and decides to let him grieve alone. (full context)
Chapter 43
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...years before. One day when Christopher came home from school, no one was there. When Ed got home, he asked whether Christopher had seen his mother and then made a number... (full context)
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Christopher wanted to bring his mother food, but Ed said he would buy some and bring it to her when Christopher was at school.... (full context)
Chapter 47
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...named Terry once told him he would only get a job doing menial labor, but Ed said that Terry was only jealous of Christopher’s intelligence. Christopher plans to study math and... (full context)
Chapter 53
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Judy died two weeks after she went to the hospital. Ed had said that she seemed to be improving, and Christopher had not gone to see... (full context)
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After his mother died, Mrs. Shears came over to cook dinner, comforted Ed, and played Scrabble with Christopher, who won. (full context)
Chapter 59
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...confusingly vague instructions and because people constantly break rules, like driving over the speed limit. Ed told him to “stay out of other people’s business,” but people’s business could mean anything.... (full context)
Chapter 67
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The next day, Ed is watching a soccer match on television, so Christopher decides to ask his neighbors whether... (full context)
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...can think of anyone who doesn’t like Mrs. Shears, and she suggests he talk to his father —and tells him to be careful. (full context)
Chapter 71
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...by getting a top grade on the Maths A level exam, a university qualifying exam. His father had to argue with the principal, Mrs. Gascoyne, to get her to allow Christopher to... (full context)
Chapter 79
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...white lie, because he’s not telling the entire truth. However, Mrs. Shears has already called Ed and told him what Christopher was doing. (full context)
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Ed is angry with Christopher for continuing to pursue the mystery of Wellington’s death. Christopher tells... (full context)
Chapter 89
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...on the loose. He tells Siobhan about Mr. and Mrs. Shears, and she guesses that Ed might not like Mr. Shears because he hurt Mrs. Shears by leaving. Christopher points out... (full context)
Chapter 97
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...again to chat with him. Christopher is being very careful so that he doesn’t disobey his father ’s instructions to leave the neighbors alone. He tells her about what he likes, and... (full context)
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Christopher decides that he has to take risks as a detective, and the specific things his father made him promise to avoid don’t cover asking questions about Mr. Shears, so he asks... (full context)
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...she carefully reveals that Christopher’s mother had an affair with Mr. Shears, and that’s why Ed hates him. Christopher leaves because he’s scared of being in the park with Mrs. Alexander. (full context)
Chapter 103
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When Christopher gets home from the park, Ed’s employee and friend Rhodri is over for a drink. Christopher tells his dad another white... (full context)
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...no idea what the right answer is. Rhodri laughs at him, as he often does. Ed offers to heat up some Indian food for Christopher, who puts red food coloring in... (full context)
Chapter 127
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When Christopher gets home from school, his father is still at work. Christopher leaves his book on the kitchen table while he watches... (full context)
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When Ed gets home, he says hello and goes into the kitchen. A little while later, he... (full context)
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...his memories black out temporarily. When he becomes aware of himself again, both he and Ed are hurt. Ed goes outside and throws Christopher’s book into the trashcan, and then gets... (full context)
Chapter 137
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The next day, Christopher’s father apologizes for hitting him and announces they’re going to Twycross Zoo. There shouldn’t be too... (full context)
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Christopher and Ed eat lunch in the zoo café. Ed reminds Christopher that he loves him, and even... (full context)
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Christopher draws a map of the zoo from memory. He and Ed go look at the giraffes, and then they head home. (full context)
Chapter 149
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...isn’t sure because his memory of the fight is vague; all he remembers is that Ed grabbed him. He doesn’t want to talk further about the fight. (full context)
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...to return from work. He looks everywhere but doesn’t find anything, and finally there’s only Ed’s room left. He’s not supposed to mess with anything in there, but he decides he’ll... (full context)
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As Christopher hears the door of Ed’s van close, he notices a number of envelopes underneath the book, all addressed to him.... (full context)
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Ed doesn’t see Christopher come out of his room, so Christopher goes into his own room... (full context)
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Ed comes into the bedroom, and Christopher says he’s reading a letter. Ed tells him about... (full context)
Chapter 157
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...thinks about water traveling all around the world and connecting different places. The following evening, Ed has to go out on an emergency call for someone whose basement has flooded. (full context)
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Christopher returns to Ed’s bedroom and finds 43 letters addressed to him. In the first letter he opens, his... (full context)
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...doesn’t think she’s a very good mother, because she’s impatient and gets upset easily, unlike Ed. Once, she took Christopher shopping during the Christmas season, and the stores were so crowded... (full context)
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...soon Mr. Shears and Christopher’s mother fell in love. Mr. Shears wanted Judy to leave Ed, but she couldn’t leave Christopher. (full context)
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...a cutting board broke Judy’s toes. When she got home from the hospital, she and Ed got into another big argument, because Ed blamed her for not being able to keep... (full context)
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...best for everyone if she went. She meant to explain everything to Christopher then, but Ed forbade her from talking to him. She didn’t want to hurt Christopher, and now she... (full context)
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...reading the letters, because he feels sick. He’s realized that his mother didn’t die, and his father lied to him. He feels dizzy and curls up. When he becomes aware of his... (full context)
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Ed comes into the room, sees the letters, and realizes what has happened. He touches Christopher,... (full context)
Chapter 167
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After Ed gives Christopher a bath, he tries to get Christopher some food, but Christopher won’t speak.... (full context)
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In order to keep this promise, Ed admits that he was the one who killed Wellington. Christopher wonders if he’s joking, but... (full context)
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Christopher becomes frightened. Ed tries to touch his hand in their way that symbolizes hugging, but Christopher pushes him... (full context)
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...a couple of hours and then sneaks downstairs with his Swiss Army Knife. He finds Ed asleep in the living room. He brings Toby and some food and goes into the... (full context)
Chapter 179
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...well, and when he wakes up the sun is rising. After a couple more hours, Ed comes into the garden calling Christopher’s name. Christopher hides under a sack and holds his... (full context)
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Christopher decides to go and live with Mrs. Shears. He’ll tell her that his father killed Wellington, and she’ll understand his problem. He walks to her house, but she doesn’t... (full context)
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...he’s going there, and Christopher explains that he’s going to live with his mother because his father lied to him about her death and about Wellington’s. Mrs. Alexander tries to get him... (full context)
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...and thinks for a terrifying moment that he’s in the house, but then realizes that Ed left them behind. He takes Ed’s bank card. He puts Toby in his jacket pocket... (full context)
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...is frightened both of getting farther away from his home and of being near where his father lives, so his fear stays constant as he walks to school. He wants to rest... (full context)
Chapter 191
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...a bank card. When the policeman forces him to admit that the card belongs to his father , Christopher is afraid that the policeman will arrest him, but instead he shows Christopher... (full context)
Chapter 193
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...likes knowing what will happen when. He provides his timetable for a normal day at his father ’s house, which has every activity mapped out to the minute. He makes other timetables... (full context)
Chapter 197
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Suddenly the policeman shows up on the train, because Ed has come to the station looking for Christopher. Christopher tries to run away because he... (full context)
Chapter 211
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 227
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...over. Toby escapes again, but Christopher catches him. Mr. Shears and Judy are worried that Ed must be nearby, but Christopher tells them that he came alone on the train because... (full context)
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...bathroom and asks Christopher why he never wrote back to her, so Christopher reveals that Ed told him she was dead and never gave him the letters. She’s very distressed and... (full context)
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...he wakes to hear his father shouting at his mother and Mr. Shears. Judy and Ed argue about Ed lying to Christopher. Ed says that writing letters was nothing compared to... (full context)
Chapter 233
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...he has to take his A level, but Judy is trying to deal with both Ed and Roger’s anger, and tells Christopher that he’ll take the exam later. Christopher is very... (full context)
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...computer games, and his time is far worse than his best time. In the evening, Ed returns home. He and Judy have a shouting match while Christopher bangs on drums to... (full context)
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That evening, Ed comes back to the house. Christopher is frightened, so he lies out in the yard... (full context)
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That evening, Ed comes to the house to ask Christopher how the exam went. Judy pleads with him... (full context)
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The next week, Ed tells Judy she has to leave the flat, but she doesn’t have the money to... (full context)
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...school, before his mother finishes work. He pushes his bed against the door so that Ed can’t get in, and he doesn’t answer when Ed tries to talk to him. Sometimes... (full context)
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One day, when Judy comes to pick Christopher up at Ed’s house, Ed asks to talk to Christopher. Christopher doesn’t want him to, but Ed sets... (full context)
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The next week, lightning hits a tree near Ed’s house, and men cut it up and take it away. Christopher finds out he got... (full context)