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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Characters

Christopher’s mother (Judy Boone)

Characters Christopher’s mother (Judy Boone)

For the majority of the novel, our only view of Christopher’s mother comes through Christopher’s memories. He remembers her as loving but impatient, and prone to breakdowns in the face of his tantrums. She also comes across as a dreamer who is unable to cope with the harsh realities of Christopher’s condition. But she receives a momentary turn as the narrator—the only instance in the novel when see a first-person point of view other than Christopher’s—when Christopher includes in his book a series of her letters in full. In these letters, she exhibits the patience that she lacked in her face-to-face interactions with him, writing forty-three letters over the course of two years, despite getting no response. Although she tells Christopher in the letters that she left him and his father because she thought they would be happier without her, this explanation is clearly only part of her reasoning. We also see in the letters the intense frustration she felt with Christopher and her inability to deal with his behavior, as when Christopher threw a tantrum in a department store while he and his mother were Christmas shopping. She felt unable to cope with these fits of Christopher’s, possibly because of her depression, which Christopher mentions at one point in passing. When we finally meet her in person, however, Christopher’s mother turns out to be strong-willed and independent. Even so, she evidently still finds dealing with Christopher extremely difficult because of his rigid needs and sometimes inappropriate behavior. She clearly loves Christopher but also has doubts about her ability to take care of him.