Major Themes of Mark Haddon's the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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While trust is a somewhat common theme in modern novels, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time manages to show how this idea affects people who live under atypical circumstances. Haddon tells the story through the eyes of Christopher, a fifteen-year-old autistic boy whose view of life, as well as his understanding of the world, is drastically different from that of any other teenager. Christopher is extremely sensitive, and is only comfortable in familiar surroundings and with familiar people. His daily routine consists of a series of complicated systems and he is very deeply affected when treated badly by other people. The book's two major themes come into play when Christopher must begin to face the real, adult world, where webs of lies, deception, and complex emotions reside.

For the past two years, Christopher has believed his mother to be dead from a heart attack. He accepts this even though he never validates it- he never saw the body, never attended a funeral. It is easier for him this way, or course- it saves him from entering new places and encountering strangers. Venturing out of his comfort zone is a stressful and very difficult task for Christopher. With his mother gone, Christopher's family consists of himself, his father, and his pet rat, Toby. Since Christopher doesn't react well to change, he becomes very distressed when he discovers that his mother is alive, quite the contrary to what his father had told him. Also, his father killed their neighbor's dog, Wellington, an event that Christopher had been briefly blamed for and had been investigating ever since. This leaves Christopher to be uncertain about his father's love for him, and, most importantly, question whether or not it is safe to trust his father at all.

Ultimately, Christopher chooses not to trust his father, and his home therefore becomes an unsafe place for him to be. He decides to run away to live with his mother in London. The trip there will of course...
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