The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Young children are always searching for answers, but what happens when the result makes everything more complicated? In the two books “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and “the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” two adolescent boys go on life-changing adventures that stem from an isolated traumatic experience. Along the way, both boys ultimately realize that it is worth the risk to understand the truth. In order for Christopher to understand something, he must explain it analytically because of his autism.
His articulate thoughts were comical, yet profound at the same time. “Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them. “(Haddon. ) This quote proves Christopher’s intelligence, as well as his inability to understand emotional situations. The event of finding a dead dog in the yard confused Christopher, and so he decided to solve the mystery like his favorite detective would.
During the investigation, his findings were documented in a journal that he was supposed to write in by instruction of his mentor, Siobhan. Like Christopher, Oskar was a curious little boy who was coping with the recent death of his father during the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Although also very intelligent, Oskar had a weight on his shoulders and often invented things as a method to “fix” other problems, in hopes that it would heal his own. “In bed that night I invented a special drain that would be underneath every pillow in New York, and would connect to the reservoir.
Whenever people cried themselves to sleep, the tears would all go to the same place, and in the morning the weatherman could report if the water level of the Reservoir of Tears had gone up or down, and you could know if New York is in heavy boots. “(Foer. ) The thought of using sadness for advantage is quite a heavy thought for a child, and Oskar had good reason. In the beginning of the story Oskar quietly listened to messages his father left on the answering machine as the chaos in the background worsened.
After the final message-and the last he would ever hear of his father, Oskar found a key that he hoped would solve a mystery that his father had left for him. Both Christopher and Oskar had set out to find answers, but neither boy knew exactly what they had just uncovered. While searching for clues, Christopher came across letters from his deceased Mother. His father had previously told him that his mother was sick and eventually, passed away. The letters were addressed to Christopher, and the dates were marked recent. Christopher found out that his Mother was not dead at all, and there was even an address as to where she was living.
The truth soon came out, when Christopher realized his mother had left his father for the neighbor, and that is why the dog had died and why his father lied to him. His autism created more of a problem, since Christopher is unable to process the emotional effects. Although it made him sick to his stomach, he still tried his best to understand the situation. “Sometimes we get sad about things and we don’t like to tell other people that we are sad about them. We like to keep it a secret. Or sometimes, we are sad but we really don’t know why we are sad, so we say we aren’t sad but we really are. (Haddon. ) Christopher was at a difficult point in his life- Trying to comprehend his families’ struggles as well as going on his own to discover the truth. Like Christopher, Oskar had set out on a quest to find the key’s origin. The significance of this was that it held the place of a last goodbye to his father. Along the way, Oskar met many people, and learned important life lessons. His efforts were explained best by this small excerpt- “I tried the key in all the doors, even though he said he didn’t recognize it. It’s not that I didn’t trust him, because I did.
It’s that at the end of my search I wanted to be able to say: I don’t know how I could have tried harder. ” (Foer. ) This shows Oskar’s determination to solve the mystery, much like that of Christopher with his efforts. The aftermath for both boys was life-changing. Although Christopher has an initial mistrust with his father, he ultimately accepted him (with the help of a gift) and moved back in. Although it is hard to distinguish, I think the reader can safely assume that Christopher knew deep down that his father was the better caretaker.
He came away from his adventure with more confidence, and it is shown by his comment toward the end of the story- “And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery…and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything. ” (Haddon. ) Christopher also got accepted into A-level math, which was his life goal at that point. By the end of the story, Christopher is reunited with his father, solves the mystery, and realizes he can do anything. Oskar’s biggest challenge is coping with the death of his Father, who was the closest person in his life.
After he finds the key’s origin, he comes clean to the shop owner, telling him everything about his dad and the voicemails. At this point, Oskar expresses his realization with the following quote- “In the end, everyone loses everyone. There was no invention to get around that” (Foer. ) Both boys came to very grown-up conclusions that proved to be difficult, and showed that the adults in the same situation handled it in a much more avoidant fashion. The innocence of Christopher and Oskar were both taken away from them by their own families.
Acceptance is a hard pill for anyone to swallow, at any age and under any circumstance. Some take it better than others- but for Christopher and Oskar, they looked at it as an adventure. Both boys found fulfillment in finding the truth, something that we as adults often overlook. Although the incidents were tragic, and even hard to face at times, both boys faced their fears with bravery and dignity. In the end, they can walk away not only knowing the answers they sought out for, but the priceless lessons of life, death, and acceptance.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 30 October 2016
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