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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Main Ideas

Style

Main Ideas Style

The writing style of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is unique to Christopher’s voice, which is matter-of-fact and childlike. The matter-of-fact style contains metafictional elements, which is when the narrator directly refers to the book he or she is writing and reminds the readers that they are reading a work of fiction. Christopher often refers to Siobhan’s book-writing advice throughout the novel, trusting her wisdom as his primary teacher. Prior to a description of his father’s garden, Christopher writes: “[Siobhan] said the idea of a book was to describe things using words so that people could read them and make a picture in their own head.” Christopher’s matter-of-factness reveals that he has trouble understanding why people enjoy certain things, such as detailed descriptions in books, and needs help writing a story that others can connect with. In fact, he wants to include an explanation of how he answered a question on his maths A level exam, but Siobhan tells him that’s not “very interesting,” so Christopher includes the question in his appendix instead. The novel also has a run-on, childlike quality because Christopher begins most of his sentences with conjunctions such as “and” or “but.” For example, when Christopher explains how the mind operates like a machine, he writes: “And you can tell this because of an experiment which I saw on TV in a series called How the Mind Works. And in this experiment you put your head in a clamp and you look at a page of writing on a screen. And it looks like a normal page of writing and nothing is changing.” Christopher fixates on certain topics, like this experiment, and simply describes things as he sees them, creating his plainspoken style throughout the novel.