The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Characters

Mark Haddon


Christopher John Francis Boone is a fifteen-year-old autistic British boy who functions as the narrator of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Through Christopher, the reader is able to experience firsthand what it is like to be autistic. At times, Christopher’s voice sounds as though it should be coming from a much younger child, perhaps a seven- or eight-year-old boy.His vocabulary and understanding of the world around him is very simple: he thinks in terms of black and white; shades of gray confuse him. He does not understand metaphors or facial expressions, and he gets frustrated when things around him change—even relatively minor things, such as furniture being rearranged. Christopher also has a variety of habits and preferences, typical of a child with autism: he loves prime numbers and knows all of them up to 7,057 (he even numbers the chapters of his book with prime numbers); his food cannot touch another type of food before he eats it; he hates the color yellow and the color brown; he hates France and he hates being touched. It seems that his only friend is his rat, Toby. He even admits that the other kids at his school are "stupid," which evinces another typical characteristic of a child who is autistic—the lack of empathy.

However, Christopher’s great talent lies in the area of concrete thinking, especially math. Christopher is able to explain complex mathematical and statistical problems with clear, straight-forward language (for example, he takes the reader through the Monty Hall problem, which involves three doors, two with goats behind them and one with a car, and what the chance is of getting the car). It is this concrete, logical thinking that helps Christopher get an A on his math exams and propels his desire to be a scientist.

The premise for Christopher telling this story is that he is writing a book about who killed Wellington, his neighbor’s dog.This gives Christopher an audience and allows the reader to feel more connected to the narrator. For example, when Christopher is in the train station in London, surrounded by strangers and unfamiliar objects, it makes perfect sense to...

(The entire section is 875 words.)