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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Main Ideas

Setting

Main Ideas Setting

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time mostly takes place in Swindon, a real-life suburb of England, in the late 1990s. England’s economy experienced an upswing after one of the longest economic recessions since the Great Depression. Swindon’s local economy was (and still is) largely comprised of automotive manufacturing plants, and Christopher’s father works a similarly blue-collar job. Christopher and his father are middle-class, owning enough property to tend a small garden, which is of great importance to Christopher. Christopher especially likes to go outside and look up at the night sky, pondering how “some of the stars don’t even exist anymore because their light has taken so long to get to us that they are already dead,” and these thoughts help put his problems in perspective. Christopher’s middle-class, suburban life provides a sharp contrast to London, which is noisy, crowded, and ill-suited for Christopher’s needs. As Christopher finds on his harrowing journey, London is overwhelming, and his mother’s apartment is too small to have a garden. Time in this new setting helps Christopher understand his own needs better and plan for his life as an adult, where he will have his own garden. As Christopher learns more about England’s different landscapes, he becomes more equipped to imagine what he needs to live independently in the future.