New Student Experience

 

 

Holloway Hall

Welcome To T he Office of New Student Experience

New Student Reader

2006-2007 Book

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"

Book Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeBook Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

"Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years."

Discussion Questions

  1. On the very first page of the book what are the clues that the narrator thinks differently than others?
  2. What is the significance of the narrator’s choice in chapter numbers?
  3. What is the relationship between Siobhan and the narrator and what (if any) is her influence?
  4. Why are puzzles and riddles so important to Christopher John Francis Boone?
  5. Why do you suppose that Christopher has such a strong affinity for dogs and other animals but not people?
  6. Metaphors confuse Christopher – why do you think this is?
  7. Christopher is very precise, and as such his narrative is very precise and exact – much more so than is seen in a traditional novel – to the point where he even includes footnotes in the book. Does this level of exactingness help or hurt the overall narrative?
  8. How do some of the diagrams help the story/narration, and how do some of them make it harder to understand?
  9. Christopher sees things in patterns – how does the reader’s experience in trying to understand his thought processes mirror Christopher’s own confusion in understanding other people’s thoughts?
  10. Schedule and diet are important to Christopher – he has lots of rules and superstitions about how things must be or must not be. Non-autistic people also have similar beliefs and rules – what other characteristics do autistics share with non-autistics?
  11. What is about Occam’s razor that so appeals to Christopher?
  12. Christopher’s parents interact with him in two very different ways – which way do you think is better for Christopher – which way is better for his parents?
  13. Describe Christopher’s understanding of emotional states, particularly happiness and sadness. How does this understanding relate to or not related to his own emotional behavior?
  14. Today’s technology – IM, text messaging, e-mail, etc. – lets us use visual representations of emotions - - :) - - and put in quick descriptions of what we are doing and not what we are feeling (i.e. LOL versus “I think that is funny”) – how is this similar to how Christopher operates?
  15. How does Christopher’s “disability” allow him to succeed, where other non-autistic children would fail?
  16. Some people would label Christopher as “disabled” while others would refer to them as “differently-abled” – what is the difference between these two terms and which is more accurate?

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