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 5

Chapter 59

Despite Father's warnings to stay out of people's business, Christopher decides to find out who killed Wellington. Christopher admits that he does not always do what people tell him because their instructions often don't make sense. For instance 'people often say 'Be quiet', but they don't tell you how long to be quiet for.' Siobhan understands and gives him clear instructions about what to do and what not to do. That evening Christopher goes to Mrs Shears. She says she doesn't want to see him but he insists that he didn't kill Wellington and asks if she knows who did. She closes the door. Christopher waits until she thinks he has left and then climbs over the wall to her shed where the gardening tools are kept. The shed is padlocked but he notices, by looking through the window, that there is a fork in the shed which looks exactly the same as the one that was sticking out of Wellington: it had a green plastic handle and so did all the other tools. So Christopher decides that the fork must have belonged to Mrs Shears and that either she killed him (which he does not think is true) or it was someone who had the keys to her shed. He turns around and see Mrs Shears and she tells him to leave or she will call the police again. He leaves and feels happy because he is finding things out like a detective.

Chapter 61

When Christopher's mother died, Mrs Forbes at school said she had gone to heaven. Christopher says that is not true because heaven doesn't exist. When Reverend Peters once came to his school, Christopher asked him where heaven was. His response was 'It's not in our universe. It's another kind of place altogether.' Christopher does not accept this and gives him a scientific account of the only thing outside our universe that can be found if you go through a black hole. Reverend answers 'Well, when I say that heaven is outside the universe it's really just a manner of speaking. I suppose what it really means is that they are with God.' When Christopher asked where God was, he said that he'll discuss it on another day. Christopher explains that when you die you mix with the flowers and the plants when you are put into the ground. He explains that Mother was cremated and that he sometimes looks into the sky and thinks he can see 'molecules of Mother up there.'

Chapter 67

Saturday was the next day and Christopher decides to continue his detective work. He decides to go and ask some of the neighbors if they had seen anyone killing Wellington or had seen anything strange happening that night. He says he does not usually talk to strangers and that he doesn't really want to talk to strangers - not because he is scared because he could hit them hard, like he did when Sarah pulled his hair and he knocked her into a concussion and she was sent to Accident and Emergency - but because he doesn't like people he's never met before. At school he spends weeks watching new members of staff until he feels safe and doesn't have to watch them all the time. He speaks to the old lady, Mrs Alexander at number 39. She offers Christopher squash and biscuits, but she is in the house for six minutes and Christopher starts worrying about whether she was telling the truth or whether she was calling the police. So he walks away and then has a thought. The most sensible reason he could think that someone would have killed Wellington was to make Mrs Shears sad and the only person he could think would want to make Mrs Shears sad was Mr Shears, who moved out of the house two years ago. Christopher deduces that since Mr Shears did not want to live with Mrs Shears anymore, 'he probably hated her and he might have come back and killed her dog to make her sad.'

Chapter 71

Christopher says that all the children at his school are stupid but that he's been told that he should say that they have learning difficulties or special needs. He says that he is going to prove that he is not stupid by taking A level Maths next month and by getting an A grade. He is the first pupil to take an A level at the school and the headmistress didn't want him to take it at first because she had they didn't have the facilities and she didn't want Christopher to be treated differently because then everyone would want to be treated differently. Christopher's father complained and said that he would pay the £50 for an invigilator and she agreed. Christopher says that after he has taken A level Maths he is going to take A level Further Maths and Physics and then go to university. He will have to go to a university away from his home town, Swindon because there isn't one in Swindon, but he says that would suit his father fine because then they could both move. When he has done his degree he will be able to get a job and earn money to pay for a cook and cleaner or he will marry a lady who will look after him and will be his companion.


It is interesting, in light of what we find out at the end of the novel, that there is a whole chapter dedicated to death and to where Christopher’s mother went when she died. In some ways there is a real irony to this because his thoughts about his mother’s death are, in Christopher's worldview, a lie, because she hasn’t actually died. But he does not know that yet. Again, I think this points to the power of storytelling: it is a big part of Christopher’s life that his mother is dead and that fact really colors his vision of the world – so, the way each of us views the world is not so much based on fact but on what we think is happening in our lives.

Christopher’s relationship with the universe is very spiritual even though he hasn’t given his feelings a label. As he says early on in this section, ‘I do not always do what I am told. And this is because when people tell you what to do it is usually confusing and does not make sense.’ This is true of not only what people tell you to do, but also of what people tell you. It is important to note that the Reverend postpones the conversation with Christopher about where God is located because he does not have an answer himself: Christopher’s need to understand – which is a need many children have – cannot accept or accommodate the Reverend’s woolly answers and as a result he is quite obviously exposed.

It is also very important for the structure of the story that Christopher does not listen to his father’s words of warning about finding Wellington’s killer; if he had, there would be no novel. The courage to follow your own beliefs and instincts until you are fully persuaded by another has meant that we have a novel to read – it has brought to life this whole experience. Haddon seems to imply that the opposite is deadly, and stops you from being an individual.

It is significant that Christopher thinks the people in his class are stupid because it at once differentiates the people within his school and makes sure that none of us fall into the trap of seeing all the pupils at Christopher’s school in the same way. It is made very clear – and is very clear from the novel – that Christopher is highly intelligent and unique, even if he is incapable of functioning in a mainstream school.