The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Perspective and the Absurdity of the World Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Growing Up Theme Icon
Trust Theme Icon
Truth, Love, and Safety Theme Icon
Logic vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Perspective and the Absurdity of the World Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Perspective and the Absurdity of the World Theme Icon

The actions of people on the autism spectrum often seem difficult to comprehend for people who are not autistic. However, telling the story from Christopher’s perspective helps the reader understand his worldview and question the generally accepted rules of society.

Christopher sees society from a somewhat removed perspective. He doesn’t instinctively understand why people act in certain ways or why certain things are expected of him. As a result, he notices aspects of everyday life that are somewhat absurd, but that most people accept as perfectly normal without thinking about them. For example, Christopher hates the colors yellow and brown and tries to stay away from them, particularly not eating anything in these colors. He acknowledges that this is somewhat foolish, but he also points out that people decide what they’re going to order at a restaurant depending on which foods they generally like, even if they’ve never eaten any of the dishes on the menu, and avoiding yellow foods isn’t much different from avoiding bitter foods.

Christopher also has trouble understanding many figures of speech, such as “I laughed my socks off” or “He was the apple of my eye.” People often use phrases like this without thinking about what they’re literally saying, but only thinking about what they generally mean. Christopher’s confusion about them forces the reader to actually consider the absurdity of some of these phrases, and the distance between what they describe literally and what they’re meant to convey.

Finally, Christopher’s perspective emphasizes the amount of sensory stimulation that people are constantly receiving. Most people are so used to it that they hardly notice, but Christopher experiences the world differently and can’t ignore the excess information that his brain receives. His narration portrays the overstimulation of the modern world and the absurdity of urban life that includes gigantic trains traveling through tunnels and advertisements that sound ridiculous when described in Christopher’s logical detail.

Christopher’s narration forces the reader to reevaluate what most people consider “normal” and consider that the entire concept of normality is subjective, based on individual experience rather than indisputable fact.

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Perspective and the Absurdity of the World Quotes in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Below you will find the important quotes in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time related to the theme of Perspective and the Absurdity of the World.
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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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