The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Summary and Analysis of Section 3

Chapter 23

At the police station Christopher is asked to take the laces out of his shoes and to empty his pockets. He empties out a Swiss Army Knife with 13 attachments, a piece of string, a piece of wooden puzzle (of which he draws a diagram), 3 pellets of rat food for his rat Toby, £1.47, a red paperclip and a key for the front door. He screams when they try to take his watch off him because he needs to know exactly what time it is. Christopher answers some of their questions, telling the police men that his family consists of his Father (but Mother was dead), Uncle Terry and Grandma Burton. Christopher calculates that the police cell is 2 meters long by 2 meters wide by 2 meters high and wonders how he would escape if he was in a story. He thinks that he would wait for a sunny day and start a fire by reflecting the light in his glasses - he would escape when they evacuated his cell and if they didn't notice he would wee on the fire to put it out. Christopher wonders if Mrs Shears has told the police that he killed Wellington and wonders if she will go to prison for telling lies, which Christopher calls slander.

Chapter 29

Christopher explains that he finds people confusing for two main reasons: people talk with facial expressions as well as just words and people talk using metaphors. He says that metaphors are just confusing because you try and imagine a metaphor, for example an apple in someone's eye and it distracts you from what the person is actually talking about. Christopher says that his name is a metaphor and means carrying Christ. He says he does not want his name to mean the story where St Christopher carries Jesus across a river - he wants his name to mean him.

Chapter 31

Christopher's father arrives at the police station at 1.12am and is angry with policemen until 1.28am when he is let in to see Christopher. He holds up his right hand and spreads his fingers into a fan and Christopher's fingers touch his to show that he loves him and because Christopher does not like being hugged. They are taken to a room with an inspector. The inspector cautions Christopher for assaulting the policeman and asks whether Christopher killed the dog. Christopher and his father leave the station.

Chapter 37

Christopher explains why he can't lie. He says it is because '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.' He says if he opens up his imagination to something that he didn't do at that time then he would not be able to stop thinking of all the things he didn't do. He says that is why he doesn't like proper novels, because they are lies, and that everything he has written is true.


Christopher likes the police cell: ‘It was nice in the police cell. It was almost a perfect cube,’ he says, describing the dimensions. Christopher feels comfortable in this room by himself and he starts imagining how he might escape if he were in a story. The irony of course is that he is in a story, albeit a story of his own creation. Mark Haddon endows Christopher with a real sense of authorship in this novel.

The cell could also be a metaphor for the blank pages of a book before the author starts writing. Within this cell, Christopher allows his imagination free reign as he conjures up a world from the serenity of the cell. Despite feeling comfortable in the cell, Christopher imagines ways of escaping, as though he is only too aware of how he is supposed to feel in such a situation, locked up as he is. Creativity is sometimes best expressed alone, with a blank canvas, and this is true for many writers - it is easy to imagine why the absence of external stimuli would be particularly inspiring for Christopher.

Christopher’s language is very particular to him and he has a very specific relationship with it. He does not like metaphors because they distract from the story by forcing engagement with a totally different image. He also says that he wants his name to mean ‘him’. Christopher clearly doesn’t connect with anything that he sees as a lie: he relates very specifically and very directly with the information he receives, which is reflected in the way he tells his own story. Here we are made to think about the significance of language as far as writing and expressing yourself is concerned.

The authorial voice of the novel is so expressly Christopher's - Haddon is completely hidden within this character. In a way, Haddon is not only an author but also an actor. He has adopted the role of Christopher in order to tell this story.