The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon
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Compare how The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the film The Black Balloon explore the importance of belonging.

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The theme of belonging stands at the heart of both The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and The Black Balloon directed by Elissa Down, yet these two works explore that theme in different ways. Let's look at some of those differences (as well as...

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The theme of belonging stands at the heart of both The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and The Black Balloon directed by Elissa Down, yet these two works explore that theme in different ways. Let's look at some of those differences (as well as some similarities).

First, in The Black Balloon, Thomas Mollison struggles to fit in with his family and schoolmates. His brother, Charlie, is autistic. His mother and father are a bit eccentric, and Thomas feels like the odd one out. He wonders if the other kids at school will accept him. In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Christopher Boone also struggles to fit in with his family but for different reasons. Christopher is autistic, and he lives with his father, who has been keeping a secret from him. Christopher believes that his mother is dead, but it is not true. She has left the family to live with her lover in London. When Christopher finds this out, he has to learn how to fit in with his family all over again.

Second, in The Black Balloon, Thomas enters into a friendship with Jackie that helps him develop a sense of belonging that he never expected. Jackie helps Thomas learn how to accept Charlie just as he is and to help his brother grow even as she helps Thomas learn what it means to love. This element is absent from Haddon's work. Christopher does not have a love interest or even a close friend who can help him feel that he belongs.

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