Chapter Summaries
Chapter 137

Father apologizes the next day and says he didn't mean to hit Christopher. Father cleans up Christopher's cut and since it's Saturday they go to Twycross Zoo together, packing sandwiches for Christopher since he doesn't like eating food from places he doesn't know. Christopher had never been to this zoo before and they didn't have a route worked out in his mind; so they purchased a guidebook and walked around the whole zoo so he could decide which were his favorite animals. He lists his favorite animals: Randyman the Red-Faced Black Spider Monkey; the Patagonian Sea Lions, named Miracle and Star; and Maliku the Orangutan. They ate at the cafe, where Father says he loves Christopher: if he sometimes gets angry, it's because he worries about Christopher and doesn't want him to get hurt. Christopher doesn't know if he understands but Father asks if he at least understands that he loves Christopher, to which Christopher says yes. They touch fingers and thumbs to show this. Christopher then provides a map of the zoo and describes seeing the gerbils before going home.


Notes - It's important for Christopher to have favorite animals in mind, which is why he draws this list. Father's discussion with Christopher helps to establish his motives later on in the novel.


Chapter 139

While Christopher likes Sherlock Holmes, he does not like Holmes' author and creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Unlike his creation, Doyle believed in the supernatural. In 1917, he was one of those fooled by The Case of the Cottingley Fairies, where two cousins claimed to play with fairies and took five photographs as proof. Harold Snelling, an expert in fake photography, declared these images were real and Doyle wrote about the pictures for The Strand. In 1981, Joe Cooper interviewed the cousins, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths: Wright said all five photographs were fake and Frances claimed only one was real. This case shows that people can be stupid if they don't want to know the truth and that Occam's razor is true.

Notes - The hoax of the fairies is analogous to the hoax Ed Boone pulled on his son. The idea of people being stupid because they don't want to know the truth is an important idea, because it helps to explain Christopher's reluctance to understand the letters from his mother in the next chapter. Occam's razor translates to "No more things should be presumed to exist than are absolutely necessary." It is a heuristic guide - that is, a guide to solving problems - by advising that the simplest of explanations is often the correct one. However, this is not a strict rule more than a general guideline, and there are times when a more complex answer is actually the truth.


Chapter 149

When Christopher goes to school on Monday, Siobhan asks about the bruise on his face. He explains what happens and Siobhan makes sure Christopher is alright, asking if he's scared of going home or wants to talk anymore about it, then going over when grabbing is okay and why hitting is not allowed. Father is still at work when Christopher goes home, so Christopher checks the dustbin to get his book back. It isn't there, however, so he begins a search of the house to see where Father may have hidden it. He checks all the rooms except his own and Father's bedroom - the only way Father would have hidden the book in his room was as a Double Bluff, so he checks on Father's bedroom. He promised Father not to mess with anything in his room, and so decides to move things when looking for the book and then move them back to how they originally were. After searching throughout the room, he finds in a cupboard a shirt box with his book. He is happy that the book wasn't thrown away but knows he can't take the book or Father will know what he's done.

Just as he hears Father coming home, Christopher notices envelopes underneath the book in the shirt box. The envelopes were unopened and addressed to him, with a handwriting where the i's have little circles instead of dots. He knows only three people who do this: Siobhan, Mr. Loxely, and Mother. As Father starts calling for him, Christopher takes an envelope and hides it under the mattress of his own room. He goes downstairs to greet Father, and they prepare supper together. After eating, Christopher returns to his room and reads the letter in the envelope: it's a letter from his mother, describing her work as a secretary, how she and Roger have moved to a new flat in London and expressing understanding at his not writing back yet but hoping he doesn't stay angry forever. Christopher is confused by this letter as it didn't correspond with anything he knew about Mother. While there was no date on the letter, the postmark on the enveloped was 16 October 1997, which was 18 months after Mother died. Father then stops by Christopher room and asks what he's doing, and Christopher answers that he's reading a letter. Given his mother's death, Christopher considers possible answers for this letter and is excited that he now has two mysteries to solve. He decides not to think of it any further that night as he doesn't want to Leap to the Wrong Conclusions and decides to wait until Father is out of the house to investigate further. He hides the letter under his mattress and goes downstairs to watch television.

Notes - Despite the evidence before him, Christopher still believes his mother is dead. The idea is too integral to his understanding of the world that he can let go of it so quickly. Also note how he lists pornography among his father's belonging but places no value to this fact; this emphasizes the loneliness of Ed Boone for readers, as well as Christopher's lack of interest or understanding in sexual matters.

Cite this page:

Mescallado, Ray. "TheBestNotes on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime ". TheBestNotes.com. . 09 May 2017
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