Study Guide for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time|
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FREE CHAPTER SUMMARY THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
Christopher is taken to the police station and processed, giving up his shoelaces
and emptying his pockets. He is told to give up his watch but screams
and is allowed to keep it. The police asks if he has family and he responds
in detail; they then ask for his Father's phone number. Christopher likes
his police cell and wonders how he would escape if he was in a story.
He decides on a plan that involves starting a fire with glasses on a sunny
day. He also wonders whether Mrs. Shears told the police he killed Wellington,
which would place her in jail because it would be slander.
This is the chapter where we first learn that Christopher's mother is dead.
The metafictive aspect of the story is elided by Christopher when he wonders
about how he would escape if he was jailed in a story - he is, in fact,
in a story of his own devising, albeit the truthful nature of his story
perhaps sets his experiences apart from a fictional setting in his own
mind. The notion that Mrs. Shears would accuse him of Wellington's murder
is immediately seen as a lie by Christopher and not merely a false accusation;
language comes down to what is true and what is not true alone - intention
doesn't matter, as we see later in the book with Father's confession.
Christopher finds people confusing for two reasons. First, they do a good
deal of talking without words; Siobhan had given him examples of how the
same behavior can have different meaning, depending on how that behavior
is performed exactly. Second, people talk in metaphors, which is when
something is described by a word that it isn't. Christopher believes that
metaphors are lies since they do not reflect actual facts. Further, his
name is a metaphor, which means "carrying Christ". His mother
said his name was a nice name because it was a story about being helpful,
but Christopher wants his name to mean himself.
The brilliance of Christopher is evident again with his etymological examination
of both the word "metaphor" and his own first name. His distaste
for ambiguous language is again made clear with the example of metaphor.
Father arrives at the police station at 1:12 a.m., which Christopher can tell
from hearing him shouting; Christopher does not actually see him until
1:28 a.m. Since Christopher does not like to be touched, Father holds
up his hand, fingers spread apart; Christopher does the same so fingers
and thumbs touch, and this is their way of hugging. An inspector takes
Christopher and Father to a room and they discuss the incident with the
policeman and whether or not Christopher killed Wellington. The inspector
decides to give Christopher a caution, which means the incident will be
kept on record and can be used against him if he gets in trouble again.
Christopher says he understands and is allowed to go home, picking up
his belongings before leaving.
At one point in the conversation with the inspector, Christopher is asked if he meant to hit the policeman, which he says yes. The ambiguity of the question is about intention: was there malice aforethought, as the inspector meant, or was there a simple decision to respond to being touched. Christopher does not see this issue of intention, which explains his frustrating answer.
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Mescallado, Ray. "TheBestNotes on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time".
. 10 May 2008