Chapter Summaries
Chapter 211

The train stops several times and Christopher keeps track with his watch. Several people find him in the luggage compartment but generally leave him alone. When the train becomes very quiet he steps out of his hiding place; he finds his belongings left at his previous seat have been taken. He sees another policeman but decides to avoid him. He traces his way back to the station but is approached by a man who tells him a policeman is looking for him. The man goes to fetch the officer but Christopher keeps walking. He feels panic at the sensory overload and the signs he sees begin to blur together and become meaningless. A man in a blue outfit with brown shoes tries to help Christopher, but he fends the man off with his Swiss Army knife. At the Information booth he asks how to get to his mother's address but only when he mentions Willesden is he told which train to take. He tells himself he can do this and goes ahead on his mission. He takes escalators down and buys a ticket to Willesden Green. He finds the platform to Willesden Junction and followed the signs there. He is frightened by the sound of trains arriving and leaving, and it feels like when he had the flu; he's shaking and wants to be back home, a wrong thought which means his mind wasn't working properly. Christopher closes his eyes and waits, even as he hurts.

Notes - The example of the signs and how they become incomprehensible illustrates how his thought processes are overwhelmed by all the new stimuli under which he suffers.

Chapter 223

Christopher includes another description, since this is what Siobhan recommends. Here, he talks about an advertisement for Malaysian tourism he saw at the train station, one which features two orangutans. He traces the etymology of the word orangutan and gives some facts on Malaysia. Siobhan told Christopher that people go on holidays to see new things and relax, but new places do not relax Christopher. Further, he believes there is a great deal of new things to discover in a familiar place. He recounts the text of the advertisement and recreates the image of the two orangutans.

Notes - The description seems superfluous, as was the previous one Christopher attempted, but it does allow him a chance to re-iterate his view on new places.

Chapter 227

Christopher keeps his eyes closed and doesn't look at his watch. A great deal of time passes and when he checks his watch it says 8:07 p.m., meaning he was sitting on the bench for five hours though it didn't feel that way for him. He also realizes Toby is no longer in his pocket. He watches the trains and keeps track of the sign of what trains are arriving. He decides to look for Toby and locates him where the rails are. He goes down to fetch Toby but a man with black shoes and gray argyle socks starts yelling at him. The man grabs Christopher's shoulder but he screams at being touched; then a train came roaring up and the man pulls Christopher to safety, even as he screams because his shoulder is hurt by this. The man asks Christopher what he was doing and he finally says he was finding Toby. A lady with a guitar case approaches Christopher and asks if he is okay, touching him and causing him to scream. He drives away both her and the man.

After eight more trains, he gets on a train with Toby in his pocket. He gets off at Willesden Junction and sees two people at the station: a drunk in a stained coat and an Indian man running a shop. He asks the shopkeeper about the address of his mother's home and the shopkeeper makes him buy a map of London. Using the map, Christopher makes his way to his mother's home. No one answered the bell and he waited outside, hiding behind the dustbins. At 11:32 p.m. he hears a man and woman talking as they approach the building - the woman is his mother, Judy Boone, and she is with Roger Shears. Christopher meets them and Mother tries to hug him but he pushes her away. Answering her questions, he tells her that Father is back in Swindon, he took the train to London by himself, and that he came here to live with them because Father killed Wellington and he's now afraid of him.

They go into their apartment and Christopher takes a bath; he tells her that Father told him she was dead and she begins to wail and apologize. After Christopher's bath, a policeman comes by to speak to Christopher and make sure he's okay. Later that night, at 2:31 a.m., Christopher wakes to shouting: Father has arrived and is arguing with Mother and Mr. Shears. Father and Mother then come into Christopher's room, Father making sure he's alright and apologizing about Wellington and the letters. He holds up his hand with fingers spread but Christopher is afraid to touch him. The policeman comes back because Mr. Shears called for him and helps Father out of the flat. Mother tells him everything will be all right and Christopher goes back to sleep.

Notes - Christopher's narration of his near-death in the railroad station is underplayed and almost beside the fact. This is because Christopher is himself unaware of its significance, as his main concern throughout this scene is recovering Toby. This shows again how different his priorities are from other people.

Cite this page:

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