The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

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What writing techniques are used in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time?

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In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the author uses various literary techniques to create a distinct and unusual narrative voice. The author uses, for example, lots of simple, declarative sentences. The author also uses lots of repetition, not only of words but also of syntactical constructions.

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The narrator of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a fifteen year-old autistic boy named Christopher Boone. Because of his autism, Christopher has a rather unique narrative voice. He speaks in a very factual way, and his observations are very literal. The author uses various literary techniques within Christopher's narration to create a sense of his unique perspective. For example, Christopher speaks mostly in simple, declarative sentences, such as "I like dogs," "The dog was called Wellington," and "It was still warm." These simple, declarative sentences help to convey Christopher's very matter-of-fact, literal perspective on the world around him.

Another way in which the author conveys Christopher's unique perspective on the world is by having him begin many of his sentences with connectives. In fact, over the course of the novel, Christopher begins almost five hundred sentences with the word and. A few examples are as follows: "And I like this," "And the shed was locked," "And it's not really their house." The author does this in part to convey the simplicity of Christopher's voice and in part to convey that Christopher understands the world as a series of separate but connected moments.

Another literary technique that the author uses is to repeat syntactical constructions. Syntax refers to the order of words within a sentence, and often Christopher's sentences will begin with a subject and then a verb. For example, "I went through," "I put my hand," and "I walked onto her lawn." In these examples, I is the subject and went, put, and walked are the verbs. The repetition of this simple syntactical construction again helps to convey an impression of the narrator's simplistic, fact-based perspective on the world.

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