The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Play

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Brief, basic information laid out in an easy-to-read format. May use informal language. (Includes most news articles)


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Provides additional background information and further reading. Introduces some subject-specific language


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Lengthy, detailed information. Frequently uses technical/subject-specific language. (Includes most analytical articles)

Literary Elements

Literary elements in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time:

Character Summary

  • inability to imagine the thoughts and feelings of other people
  • cannot empathize
  • cannot imagine what another person is thinking
  • cannot read people’s expressions
  • difficulty understanding metaphors
  • fixation on certain topics
  • gifted in math and science but severely underequipped socially
  • dislikes social interaction and avoids it when possible
  • recognizes the ways he differs from most people and feels keenly aware of these differences
  • lives as an outsider as social interactions seen as pointless
  • very few friends and doesn’t trust other people
  • remarkably accurate memory allows him to recall an entire event in extraordinary detail, uses this skill to navigate social interactions by memorizing a chart of facial expressions and the emotions associated with them

BBC Learning : Who is Christopher?

  • often goes to extremes when demonstrating his emotions, occasionally blowing up in anger
  • lacks the confidence to work through his problems verbally
  • has very few friends—Rhodri is the only one the novel mentions
  • emotionally devastated by the way his relationship with his wife (Christopher’s mother) ended two years earlier
  • suppresses emotions until he explodes in anger during stressful situations
  • lovingly and diligently cares for Christopher
  • struggles with the frustration he feels as a result of not always being able to understand Christopher’s behaviour
  • extremely protective of Christopher
  • desires to punish Christopher’s mother for the way she left leads him to lie to Christopher about mother’s leaving
  • fearful that his relationship with Christopher is deteriorating as more lies are exposed
  • must work to regain Christopher’s trust and reestablish a relationship with Christopher

BBC Learning : Christopher and Ed

  • For most of the novel, our only view of Christopher’s mother comes through Christopher’s memories
  • Christopher remembers her as:
    • loving but impatient
    • prone to breakdowns in the face of his tantrums
    • unable to cope with the harsh realities of Christopher’s condition
    • possibly depressed
  • Judy receives a momentary turn as the narrator
  • only instance in the novel when see a first-person point of view other than Christopher’s
  • In her letters:
    • she exhibits the patience that she lacked in her face-to-face interactions with him
    • tells Christopher in the letters that she left him and his father because she thought they would be happier without her
    • intense frustration she felt with Christopher and her inability to deal with his behavior
  • In person:
    • strong-willed and independent
    • still finds dealing with Christopher extremely difficult because of his rigid needs and sometimes inappropriate behaviour
    • loves Christopher but also has doubts about her ability to take care of him

BBC Learning: Christopher and Judy

  • Christopher’s primary teacher
  • most understanding adult of Christopher’s needs and strengths
  • explains appropriate social behavior in a way that helps Christopher and respects his intelligence
  • Christopher often references Siobhan’s advice when navigating difficult situations
  • Helps Christopher with writing his mystery book
  • gives Christopher detailed instructions about his behavior
  • Christopher appreciates her which explains why Christopher seems to trust Siobhan and behave better with her than any other characters
  • interactions offer an insightful contrast to Christopher’s tumultuous relationship with his parents

BBC Learning : Christopher and Siobhan


This guide has been created for year 10 students who are doing a close study of the play "A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time".


Good Reads Summary

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


 4.18  ·   Rating details ·  2,114 ratings  ·  125 reviews


My name is Christopher John Francis Boone. I know all the countries of the world and the capital cities. And every prime number up to 7507. 
Christopher, fifteen years old, stands beside Mrs Shears's dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight, and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain and is exceptional at maths, but he is ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. But Christopher's detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that turns his world upside-down.Simon Stephens's adaptation of Mark Haddon's bestselling, award-winning novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time offers a richly theatrical exploration of this touching and bleakly humorous tale


ClickView Videos

Provides additional background information and fur

The following video is a short documentary exploring the way in which the book was adapted for the stage.

The following video is from the ABCs The Book Club, and discusses the book, rather than the play.

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Library Links

Publisher Link

Coming of Age Novel

Coming of age novel:

Bildungsroman is the combination of two German words: Bildung, meaning "education," and Roman, meaning "novel." Fittingly, a "bildungsroman" is a novel that deals with the formative years of the main character - in particular, his or her psychological development and moral education. The bildungsroman usually ends on a positive note with the hero's foolish mistakes and painful disappointments over and a life of usefulness ahead.

Characteristics include:

  • A search for meaning by the protagonist, who is usually foolish and inexperienced at the beginning of the narrative. The story typically centers on the maturation process of a single person.
  • Some kind of inciting incident that pushes the protagonist into their journey. It's usually something akin to a great emotional loss, like the death of a parent.
  • The journey will not be easy. In fact, there will be many failures along the way. The hero will be tested, and he will fight tooth and nail to survive the unwavering rules and limits of society.
  • Usually an epiphany, or a flashing moment where the hero finally 'gets it.' This lucidity changes them as a person. They learn what it takes to be a grown up in the real world.
  • The hero will eventually find his place in society by accepting its values and rules. The ending isn't necessarily about closure. We often do not know exactly what's going to happen to the hero. We do know that he has grown as a person from page one, and at the very least he is equipped with the maturity and knowledge to have a chance in life.