The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

Start Free Trial

What is the biggest sacrifice Christopher's dad makes in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and its implications on human nature?

Quick answer:

Christopher's dad makes many sacrifices for his son in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. One of the biggest sacrifices is his life of honesty, which he gives up in order to shield Christopher from many painful truths. This shows how protecting one's loved ones is a big part of human nature, but can sometimes go too far.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Mr. Boone makes many sacrifices for Christopher on an everyday basis. Looking after Christopher is a difficult task, and the difficulty is exacerbated by Christopher's lack of sympathy with him. In particular, it turns out to be almost impossible for Christopher's father to have any kind of romantic relationship while caring for his son. His wife leaves him because she is unable to cope with her role as Christopher's mother, and Mrs. Shears soon has the same reaction. Very few potential partners would be able to cope with Christopher's demands. Mr. Boone, therefore, has a very lonely life.

However, it is perhaps the very dishonesty that appalls Christopher and prevents him from trusting his father that represents Mr. Boone's greatest sacrifice. He is always trying to shield Christopher from the truth about his mother's infidelity and departure, about the death of Wellington, and about anything else which he thinks will upset Christopher and affect their relationship. Christopher's complete lack of sympathy for his father paradoxically increases the reader's sympathy. Mr. Boone appears as deeply fallible and misguided, but entirely sincere in his love for his son, for whom he sacrifices his own peace of mind and sentences himself to a life filled with lies and evasions. Christopher's reaction when he discovers that his father has lied to him is to regard him as evil and dangerous. The reader, however, is likely to appreciate that Mr. Boone, whatever his flaws and even his occasional violent tendencies, would never harm Christopher and was largely motivated by love for him. Human nature is more complex and contradictory than Christopher thinks.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial