What I’ve written below are the sorts of things you could think up as you develop your own reflective reading journal based on your own “interpretations” or “reading” of the text and issues that arise in class discussion. Themes that underly “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time” 1) a study of an adolescent boy isolated from normal inclusion in society because of Asperger’s Syndrome 2) A mystery about the slaying/murder/slaughter of a dog 3) A study of a broken family – betrayed trust ) The curse of limited means – working class status or struggling financially and the pressures that brings A study of: • Relationships • Pressures of life • Society’s attitude to those who are “different” or clearly intellectually handicapped • How things taken for granted by conventional or “rank-and-file” society are confronting for those marginalised groups without reliable social support networks or with limited trust networks What are the ramifications of the novel – what moral lessons does it provide – about how we should could consider the disabled more sensitively?
It also examines the importance of roles of authority (eg police, teachers, parents) for people who rely heavily on clear parameters of hierarchy and role expectations for them to maintain a sense of security and the fulfilment of expectations. Whereas we can most frequently “read” people’s emotions from the tone of their voice and visual cues (ie facial expressions, body stance, arm gestures), someone like Christopher Boone is not afforded that luxury Consequently, he is confronted with difficulties associated with taking words upon a “too literal meaning”.
Furthermore, his understanding of what is normal and his interpretation of reality is different from that of other people. He lives in a virtual “emotional cocoon” like Rain Man …. Christopher Boone is a reliable narrator in-so-far as he is meticulous in his recollections of detail and specific events. None of his recollections are tainted by his own vested interests or prejudices. However, his account is noticeably naive because he is completely oblivious to the shenanigans that have occurred in his street and involving his parents.
He has no understanding of the tension that existed in his parents’ marriage. Furthermore, although he can recall various tantrums and spats, he is unable to make any subsequent links between those and empathy (understanding the way other people feel) with the stress they felt nor an demonstrate an awareness of the way in which his specifically taxing condition contributed to their circumstances. That is not to say, however, that Christopher Boone is totally to blame.
There are the aspects of his parents’ character, their social status and their lack of affluence which leaves them short of the necessary acumen nor understanding of welfare that may have been available to help them through their trying circumstances. Therefore, the account provided us, although factually correct, leaves ample scope for us to read between the lines and to form our own interpretations about the character of those other people including Siobhan, Mrs Anderson, the policemen, Mr & Mrs Sheers, and Christopher’s parents. Haddon leaves these textual gaps for us to fill admirably.