Study Guide for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time|
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ONLINE SUMMARY THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE Dog in the Night-Time
Despite his father's instructions, Christopher decides to find Wellington's killer. The reason is because he doesn't always do what he's told, because when people tell him what to do it is often confusing and does not make sense. Though Father told him to "stay out of other people's business" that is unclear since he does many things with other people and it's their business in those cases as well. In contrast, Siobhan is very specific in her instructions to Christopher so he knows exactly what she wants him to do.
That evening Christopher knocks on Mrs. Shears' door and tells her he's going
to find out who killed Wellington. He asks if she knows and she closes
the door on him. Christopher then decides to do detective work and investigates
the lawn. He looks inside the padlocked shed in the garden and sees various
tools, including a fork that looked like the one found in Wellington.
He concludes that the fork used in the murder either belongs to Mrs. Shears
or is a Red Herring. He considers the possibility that Mrs. Shears killed
her own dog but believes her reaction made it unlikely. Mrs. Shears then
comes out of the patio and threatens to call the police, so Christopher
goes home. He says hello to Father, feeds Toby, and feels happy because
he is a detective who is finding things out.
Christopher feels obliged to explain different terms in murder mystery novels
as they become relevant to his story. In this way, he isn't only solving
a mystery but also showing how mysteries are structured as a narrative
genre - the conventions of the mystery and how they can be applied in
his own case. This is actually an example of deductive reasoning - using
a broad pattern or concepts or behavior to determine the meaning of a
specific instance - being used on a genre that's based on deductive reasoning.
Mrs. Forbes told Christopher that when Mother died she went to heaven. Christopher
does not think this since he believes heaven does not exist. When he asked
Reverend Peters where heaven is, the vicar told him that it's not in our
universe. Christopher says there isn't anything outside of the universe
and thinks people believe in heaven because they don't like the idea of
dying. Reverend Peters amends his statement by stating that what he really
means is that people are with God after they die; this prompts Christopher
to ask where God is. Reverend Peters says that they will talk about it
on another day when he had more time. Christopher states when people die
their brain stops working and their body rots, decomposing and becoming
part of nature again. Coffins slow this down and in Mother's case she
was cremated. He does not know what happened to the ashes but when he
sees clouds he sometimes thinks Mother is a part of them.
Christopher cannot abide with religion, since it speaks towards an experience outside of the physical realities by which he bases truth and facts. The metaphorical value of heaven is lost on Christopher precisely because it is metaphorical. Ironically, his association of his Mother's ashes as being somewhere far away is not that different from the truth of her situation, as she has indeed moved to another place, London.
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Mescallado, Ray. "TheBestNotes on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time".
. 11 May 2008