The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The Curious Relationship Between Facts and Truth in Mark Haddon's Novel College

The title of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a reference to a famous Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Conan Arthur Doyle. Baker Street’s most famous resident deduces who committed the crime in this particular story by interpreting a clue in a much different way than normal: the mystery gets solved not on account of a what a dog did do but rather on account of what did not do: bark. In light of its relation to Haddon’s novel, it is interesting to note that the character of Sherlock Holmes has moved from being seen merely as a emotionless, robotic calculating machine into, as one very famous recent TV show described him, a high-functioning sociopath. The facts of Sherlock Holmes remains unchanged; it is the interpretation that has changed. If The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time had been written twenty years ago, the interpretation of the narrator’s unnamed “behavioral condition” might have been interpreted as retardation or even mild schizophrenia. Today, it is easy to interpret the condition as autism or Asperger’s. The real lesson that The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time seems to aiming for is that facts detached from interpretation do not equal truth.

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