Chapter Summaries
Chapter 193

Christopher likes timetables because he likes to know when everything is going to happen. He gives an example of a timetable he had when he lived at home with Father and thought Mother was dead. Unlike space, one's experience in time isn't based on a fixed relationship - time is always moving, while two spatially related items can have a distance that remains constant. This means time is a mystery that can't be solved like a puzzle. A timetable, then, helps to keep from getting lost in time.

Notes - Christopher provides a map of time and space to show how understanding time is relative. The timetable is a way to make sense of something Christopher cannot control, which is also why he always needs his watch.

Chapter 197

The train is crowded, which Christopher does not like. As he stands in the carriage he is approached by the policeman who had helped him earlier. He wants to take Christopher back to his father, who is waiting at the police station. Christopher starts to run away but the policeman grabs him, provoking a scream from Christopher. He insists that he's going to live with his mother and asks if Father has been arrested for the murder of Wellington. The train begins to move and Nigel, the policeman, can't stop it; he calls another officer to pick him up at the next train stop. Nigel sits down next to Christopher; Christopher watches the view and thinks of math, but then needs to use the bathroom. He can't hold it in and starts to wet himself, so Nigel tells him to use the bathroom in the train carriage. Christopher does so but is repulsed by how filthy it is. Afterwards he sees a luggage compartment opposite the toilet and hides himself in there to shut out all the noise and sights. He calms himself with quadratic equations and as the train slows down hears the policeman looking for him. Christopher does not answer and remains hidden in the luggage compartment. A woman notices him there but says nothing, and the train continues its route.

Notes - Christopher takes his Father's murder of Wellington seriously but begins to see how other people do not. Ultimately, the first mystery of the novel is negligible - much like the death of the dogs in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Chapter 199

Christopher states that people believe in God because they believe it unlikely that the complexity of what they see around themselves is highly unlikely. However, he argues the very fact that asking such questions is only possible because such an unlikely outcome could have occurred, especially in light of the billions of planets where such development didn't occur. The odds may be very high, but so are the number of times they can occur across the universe. Christopher adds that life on earth is accidental, occurring through three conditions: replication, mutation, and heritability. While rare, these conditions are possible. Christopher adds that people who believe in God think they are the best animal, but that may not always be the case.

Notes - Christopher again explicitly equates humans with other animals and gives possibilities of how they can lose their supremacy over earth. In this way, he can imaginatively fulfill the fantasy he has of being the only person on Earth.

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