The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Quotes

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 7 Quotes

This is a murder mystery novel.

Siobhan said that I should write something I would want to read myself. Mostly I read books about science and maths. I do not like proper novels...

But I do like murder mystery novels. So I am writing a murder mystery novel.

In a murder mystery novel someone has to work out who the murderer is and then catch them. It is a puzzle. If it is a good puzzle you can sometimes work out the answer before the end of the book.

Siobhan said that the book should begin with something to grab people’s attention. That is why I started with the dog.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Siobhan, Wellington
Page Number: 4-5
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage occurs near the beginning of the book, just after Christopher discovers Wellington dead. Christopher is an unusual first person narrator, in that he narrates with frequent explicit references to actually writing the book. He is very open about his writing process and the input that his teacher Siobhan gives him. Thus, the narration is very conscious of itself as existing within the medium of a book. In this passage, he clearly states his intentions in writing—simply to write a book that he would like to read. As the world is generally not very accommodating to people with autism, Christopher’s mission to write a book with someone like himself as the audience is actually a rather radical idea.

Throughout the book, Christopher often mentions how much he likes puzzles, and he thinks of difficult social concepts as puzzles as a way to make it easier for him to figure them out. Thus, it makes sense that he is trying to create a puzzle himself. In fact, he more or less invites the reader to try to solve the puzzle even as he tries to solve the mystery himself. Because he struggles to understand people, it’s likely that the reader will be able to put the clues together before he does, even though he’s the one giving the reader access to the clues.


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Chapter 29 Quotes

The word metaphor means carrying something from one place to another... and it is when you describe something by using a word for something that it isn’t...

I think it should be called a lie because a pig is not like a day and people do not have skeletons in their cupboards. And when I try and make a picture of the phrase in my head it just confuses me because imagining an apple in someone’s eye doesn’t have anything to do with liking someone a lot and it makes you forget what the person was talking about.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker)
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

After Christopher is taken to the police station, he discusses why he has trouble understanding people. One reason is that he doesn’t understand body language, and another is that he doesn’t understand metaphors. There are plenty of metaphors that people use daily without thinking about it, and most people interpret the metaphors they hear without any trouble. Christopher, however, thinks of everything very literally. Thus, he can’t automatically interpret a metaphor as what it’s meant to communicate, but instead thinks of it as an actual image, like an apple sitting in a person’s eye. He’s entirely correct that a phrase like “He was the apple of her eye” makes no literal sense, and is actually quite absurd when considered in this way. Christopher’s perspective on human conventions like this often makes them seem ridiculous, because his autism allows him to regard society from an outside perspective. Although this puts him at a disadvantage in everyday interactions, it also gives him insight into aspects of life that most people are so used to that they can’t think about them objectively.

Chapter 37 Quotes

A lie is when you say something happened which didn’t happen. But there is only ever one thing which happened at a particular time and a particular place. And there are an infinite number of things which didn’t happen at that time and that place. And if I think about something which didn’t happen I start thinking about all the other things which didn’t happen.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker)
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

Christopher’s mother used to say he didn’t tell lies because he was a good person, but instead, he admits, it’s only because he can’t tell them, and gives this explanation as to why. Christopher is very attached to facts, always wants to know what to expect from a person or situation, and thinks very logically. He doesn’t like imagining anything that didn’t happen, and for him, lies go along with this category. Because of the way his mind works, he can’t just imagine one thing that didn’t happen—once he tells that one lie, he begins thinking about all the other possible lies that exist. He needs the truth to keep him attached to reality and to keep him feeling safe.

Over the course of the book, Christopher’s hard-and-fast rule about lies becomes a little shakier. He particularly begins to tell only partial truths in order to avoid his father’s wrath about his investigations of Wellington’s death. However, he is most affected by his father’s lie about his mother’s death, which completely unmoors him, because a main part of his life for the last two years was in fact imaginary rather than real.

Chapter 67 Quotes

It takes me a long time to get used to people I do not know. For example, when there is a new member of staff at school I do not talk to them for weeks and weeks. I just watch them until I know that they are safe. Then I ask them questions about themselves, like whether they have pets and what is their favorite color and what do they know about the Apollo space missions and I get them to draw a plan of their house and I ask them what kind of car they drive, so I get to know them...

So talking to the other people in our street was brave. But if you are going to do detective work you have to be brave, so I had no choice.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker)
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

Christopher has decided to go talk to his neighbors to see whether they know anything about Wellington’s death, but this is a frightening prospect for him due to his distrust of strangers. He initially distrusts everyone, and doesn’t begin to trust anyone until he has good reason to think them trustworthy. Though they seem insignificant, all of the questions that Christopher mentions asking new staff members relate directly to his personal rules and interests. He feels strong connections to animals, including dogs and his pet rat; he harbors an intense hatred of anything yellow or brown; he wants to become an astronaut; he likes maps and always wants to know where he is in relation to his physical surroundings; and he believes that the colors of cars that he sees on the way to school make it a good day or a bad one. Essentially, then, Christopher needs to position any new person within his own world before he can feel that he knows them.

In light of these reservations about strangers, going to talk to his neighbors is, as he says, brave of him. It is the first of many times in this book that he will force himself outside his comfort zone—first to solve the mystery of Wellington’s death, and then to travel to his mother’s house. Talking to strangers begins a long process of growing up throughout the novel.

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.

Chapter 97 Quotes

And Mrs. Alexander said, “Your mother, before she died, was very good friends with Mr. Shears.”

And I said, “I know.”

And she said, “No, Christopher, I’m not sure that you do. I mean that they were very good friends. Very, very good friends.”

I thought about this for a while and said, “Do you mean that they were doing sex?”

And Mrs. Alexander said, “Yes, Christopher. That is what I mean.”

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Mrs. Alexander (speaker), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother), Roger Shears
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

When Mrs. Alexander realizes that Christopher believes his mother is dead and doesn’t know about her affair, she decides that she has already said too much and has to reveal the truth. This is the moment in which Christopher finds out that his mother was having an affair with Mr. Shears, an essential piece of information that leads to the unraveling of Christopher’s life as he knows it. Mrs. Alexander, a kind old lady, doesn’t feel she can say what she means outright, instead calling Judy and Mr. Shears “very good friends.” Christopher, who usually doesn’t understand implied meanings, catches on surprisingly quickly, responding in his usual blunt style. This forces the reader to wonder whether Christopher might have, on some unconscious level, already known this information about his mother.

This is an important moment in Christopher’s process of growing up, as he learns an awful truth about his mother, and its repercussions will force him to face an unraveling strand of lies.

Chapter 107 Quotes

I also like The Hound of the Baskervilles because I like Sherlock Holmes and I think that if I were a proper detective he is the kind of detective I would be. He is very intelligent and he solves the mystery and he says

The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.

But he notices them, like I do. Also it says in the book

Sherlock Holmes had, in a very remarkable degree, the power of detaching his mind at will.

And this is like me, too, because if I get really interested in something... I don’t notice anything else...

Also Sherlock Holmes doesn’t believe in the supernatural, which is God and fairy tales and Hounds of Hell and curses, which are stupid things.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker)
Related Symbols: Sherlock Holmes
Page Number: 73-74
Explanation and Analysis:

Christopher provides a summary of The Hound of the Baskervilles and devotes this chapter to his love of Sherlock Holmes. Christopher doesn’t relate to most novels, and he doesn’t relate to most people, but he relates to both Sherlock Holmes stories and to the character himself. Christopher sees himself in Holmes, which is particularly exciting to him because his mind works so differently from those of everyone around him in real life. Holmes, however, thinks like Christopher does, observing everything with intense interest and using logic and facts to put the world in order. Holmes acts as a role model for Christopher, who tries to imitate his methods in order to solve the mystery of Wellington’s murder.

Chapter 109 Quotes

But I don’t feel sad about it. Because Mother is dead. And because Mr. Shears isn’t around any more. So I would be feeling sad about something that isn’t real and doesn’t exist. And that would be stupid.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother), Siobhan, Roger Shears
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

Christopher tells Siobhan this after she reads his account of Mrs. Alexander’s revelation concerning his mother. Siobhan is worried that Christopher might be upset about it, even if he isn’t acknowledging his feelings to himself. However, Christopher insists that it would be stupid to feel sad about the situation. He manages to an admirable extent to live in the present moment, as he argues for the irrationality of being upset by saying that since the affair is over and his mother is dead, it’s now irrelevant to his life. This attitude also relates to his need for logic and facts. He says the affair “doesn’t exist,” which is, in theory, true, because he believes it’s now nothing more than an intangible memory. As something that’s now only thought of, the affair ends up in a similar category as lies, which Christopher avoids thinking about. However, the information about the affair will soon have tangible consequences, and Christopher will be forced to consider it more deeply.

Chapter 131 Quotes

Mrs. Forbes said that hating yellow and brown is just being silly. And Siobhan said that she shouldn’t say things like that and everyone has favorite colors. And Siobhan was right. But Mrs. Forbes was a bit right, too. Because it is sort of being silly. But in life you have to take lots of decisions and if you don’t take decisions you would never do anything because you would spend all your time choosing between things you could do. So it is good to have a reason why you hate some things and you like others. It is like being in a restaurant... and you look at the menu and you have to choose what you are going to have... so you have favorite foods and you choose these, and you have foods you don’t like and you don’t choose these, and then it is simple.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Siobhan, Mrs. Forbes
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:

One of Christopher’s personal rules in life is to avoid anything yellow or brown, particularly food, because he doesn’t like these colors. He acknowledges that this is somewhat arbitrary, and perhaps foolish, but he also thinks it isn’t as absurd as Mrs. Forbes thinks. Although it seems strange to most people, he points out that most people have likes and dislikes, and this phenomenon actually helps them move through life in a more efficient way. If people didn’t have preferences, they would never be able to make all of the rather insignificant decisions that come their way on a daily basis. Christopher’s logic thus manages to make a preference that initially seems strange actually make sense. Although his autism makes him react to many situations in ways that at first seem illogical or unwarranted, he usually has a good reason for acting as he does.

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 163 Quotes

And this is why people’s brains are like computers. And it’s not because they are special but because they have to keep turning off for fractions of a second while the screen changes. And because there is something they can’t see people think it has to be special, because people always think there is something special about what they can’t see...

Also people think they’re not computers because they have feelings and computers don’t have feelings. But feelings are just having a picture on the screen in your head of what is going to happen tomorrow or next year, or what might have happened instead of what did happen, and if it is a happy picture they smile and if it is a sad picture they cry.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker)
Page Number: 118-19
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage comes at the end of a chapter in which Christopher discusses ways in which people’s minds are like computers—they are essentially watching a screen of the world around them, subject to the eccentricities of the brain. He argues that people are not as special as they think they are—in fact, they’re more or less machines just like computers are. They think they’re special because they can’t see their brains the way they can see computers, but in fact their sense of superiority comes only from their ignorance of how the brain actually works. Christopher, whose brain works differently than most people’s, gains confidence through his understanding that even when people look down on him or he can’t understand why they do what they do, they are in fact only machines who don’t comprehend their own workings.

Furthermore, Christopher experiences feelings in a different way than most people. Sometimes he doesn’t seem to feel what he’s expected to feel, and other times he feels far more strongly than one might expect. Imagining feelings in the logical, mechanical way he does helps him bring emotions under his control, so that they become less frighteningly vague and more concrete, able to be changed.

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 173 Quotes

People say that Orion is called Orion because Orion was a hunter and the constellation looks like a hunter with a club and a bow and arrow...

But this is really silly because it is just stars, and you could join up the dots in any way you wanted, and you could make it look like a lady with an umbrella who is waving, or the coffeemaker which Mrs. Shears has, which is from Italy, with a handle and steam coming out, or like a dinosaur...

And anyway, Orion is not a hunter or a coffeemaker or a dinosaur. It is just Betelgeuse and Bellatrix and Alnilam and Rigel and 17 other stars I don’t know the names of. And they are nuclear explosions billions of miles away.

And that is the truth.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker)
Related Symbols: Stars
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:

Christopher makes these remarks about the stars while hiding behind the garden shed after his father confesses that he killed Wellington. Christopher often looks up at the night sky, and it makes him feel both small and situated within the universe. Constellations, as he points out, are stories that humans create with the stars, and do not have any scientific basis. They help humans feel that they have some control over or relationship to these distant celestial bodies. However, as he often does, Christopher dismantles this human construction, pointing out that the constellations are entirely arbitrary and rather absurd. He prefers to regard the stars as what they truly are: chemical reactions that are entirely removed from the workings of humanity.

Coming directly after Christopher finds out that his mother is alive and his father killed Wellington, this passage gestures to the sense of isolation and powerlessness that Christopher is feeling. Furthermore, it acts as a grounding mechanism for him; as he suddenly feels he has to reconstruct the narratives of his own life and past, he strips away the myths that people raise around the stars, reducing them to the hard, simple truth that makes him feel stable.

Chapter 181 Quotes

I see everything.

That is why I don’t like new places. If I am in a place I know, like home, or school, or the bus, or the shop, or the street, I have seen almost everything in it beforehand and all I have to do is to look at the things that have changed or moved...

But most people are lazy. They never look at everything. They do what is called glancing, which is the same word for bumping off something and carrying on in almost the same direction... And the information in their head is really simple...

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker)
Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage occurs just after Christopher finds the train station in Swindon as he’s beginning his journey to his mother’s flat in London. Looking for the station, he becomes overwhelmed by the sights and the sounds and the people, and this passage explains why unfamiliar places are so difficult for him to deal with. Instead of filtering out what’s really necessary to notice from what’s less significant, his mind takes everything as equally worthy of remembering. This allows him to notice many details that other people don’t, but also causes him to be overwhelmed by all of the information coming into his brain, so that he can’t focus on what he’s doing. This passage not only explains his difficulty navigating the new places he encounters on his journey, but also makes it clear what an ambitious undertaking it is for him to try to travel all the way to London on his own, and makes his success that much more impressive.

Chapter 193 Quotes

Because time is not like space. And when you put something down somewhere, like a protractor or a biscuit, you can have a map in your head to tell you where you have left it, but even if you don’t have a map it will still be there because a map is a representation of things that actually exist so you can find the protractor or the biscuit again. And a timetable is a map of time, except that if you don’t have a timetable time is not there like the landing and the garden and the route to school. Because time is only the relationship between the way different things change, like the earth going round the sun and atoms vibrating and clocks ticking and day and night and waking up and going to sleep...

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker)
Page Number: 156-57
Explanation and Analysis:

After Christopher gets on the train to London, he mentions that he made a timetable for his train set, and he had a very detailed timetable for his life at his father’s house. This passage explains why Christopher feels such a need for precise schedules. In order to feel safe, he needs to feel grounded and know where he is in relation to everything around him—this is why he makes so many maps and only thinks about the truth, rather than about imagined possibilities. But as he points out here, time is more slippery, because it doesn’t exist in any tangible way unless humans measure it with clocks and schedules. Once again, Christopher exhibits his ability to perceive the structures that humans put on the natural world to give it some sort of understandable order.

Chapter 223 Quotes

And Siobhan says people go on holidays to see new things and relax, but it wouldn’t make me relaxed and you can see new things by looking at earth under a microscope or drawing the shape of the solid made when 3 circular rods of equal thickness intersect at right angles. And I think that there are so many things just in one house that it would take years to think about all of them properly. And, also, a thing is interesting because of thinking about it and not because of being new.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Siobhan
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:

Sitting in the London tube station, terrified of the trains moving through the tunnel, Christopher describes an advertisement on the wall for a vacation in Malaysia. Due to the stress of new and strange places, Christopher does not enjoy vacations. Instead, Christopher appreciates the everyday world around him to a depth that few people do. He finds wonder in all the little details of nature and life, and he appreciates the simple fact of having a brain that can pick apart all of these details and find them interesting. Christopher derives much more pleasure from logic and intellectual discovery than from novelty or exoticism.

Chapter 227 Quotes

And then I saw Toby, and he was also in the lower-down bit where the rails were.... So I climbed down off the concrete...

...And then I heard the roaring and I lifted Toby up and grabbed him with both hands and he bit me on my thumb and there was blood coming out and I shouted and Toby tried to jump out of my hands.

And then the roaring got louder and I turned round and I saw the train coming out of the tunnel and I was going to be run over and killed so I tried to climb up onto the concrete but it was high and I was holding Toby in both my hands.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Toby
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:

Christopher sits in the London tube station for hours, terrified by the trains, and when his fright begins to dissipate, he realizes that Toby is missing. In this passage, he risks his life to retrieve Toby from the train tracks. Christopher is usually a very logical person, and he usually thinks and plans before he acts. Furthermore, he’s been immobilized by his fear of the trains, so it would make sense that he would be extremely careful to avoid them. In this situation, however, Christopher seems for once to be driven by the emotion of his love for Toby, which disrupts his logical mind in his need to get his companion back.

Christopher can be seen as a sort of parent to Toby, and in this situation, he experiences the thanklessness of parenting that has sometimes driven his own parents to act unwisely. Christopher risks his life for Toby, but the rat bites him and tries to escape. Similarly, Ed and Judy have devoted their lives to taking care of Christopher (at least, Judy did before she left), but he’s never made it easy for them. Even now, he’s escaping from Ed just like Toby tries to escape from him.

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 229 Quotes

And in the dream nearly everyone on the earth is dead, because they have caught a virus.... And people catch it because of the meaning of something an infected person says and the meaning of what they do with their faces when they say it...

And eventually there is no one left in the world except people who don’t look at other people’s faces... and these people are all special people like me. And they like being on their own and I hardly ever see them...

And I can go anywhere in the world and I know that no one is going to talk to me or touch me or ask me a question. But if I don’t want to go anywhere I don’t have to, and I can stay at home and eat broccoli and oranges and licorice laces all the time...

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker)
Page Number: 198-99
Explanation and Analysis:

After Ed argues with Judy in her flat and is escorted away by a policeman, Christopher has his favorite recurring dream. This dream imagines a world in which the characteristics that make Christopher struggle in the real world are actually the characteristics that give him an advantage and allow him to survive. This dream world is Christopher’s ideal world, where he can act as he naturally would if he didn’t have to try to conform to societal rules that were created by people who aren’t like him.

The dream is profoundly peaceful, especially in the wake of his parents’ explosive argument. The tragedy of it, however, is that when Christopher wakes up, he’ll have to continue living in a world not made for him, and this ideal world will never really exist.

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.

And then, when I’ve done that, I am going to go to university in another town... And I can live in a flat with a garden and a proper toilet. And I can take Sandy and my books and my computer.

And then I will get a First Class Honors degree and I will become a scientist.

And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? and I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother), Wellington, Sandy
Related Symbols: Dogs, Maths A Level
Page Number: 220-21
Explanation and Analysis:

Christopher has received an A on his A level exam, and he has begun to study for the next exam. In these closing paragraphs of the novel, he dreams of his future. These ambitions are the same ones he has spoken of since the beginning of the story—but at the beginning, they seemed much more far-fetched and difficult to achieve. When he was consumed by fear of his father and the need to find his mother, his dreams sank to the back of his mind, and he even thought for a while that he wouldn’t be able to take his A level, the one concrete gateway to university.

Over the course of the book, Christopher has overcome all of the challenges that came his way, and now he’s done well on his A level, too. Now that his life is back on track, his recent experiences add up to show his ability to face whatever comes. He has matured emotionally, and now he feels unstoppable.

No matches.