Mark Haddon:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night- Time




curious_incident.jpgPlot



The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's, a form of autism. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour's dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

Characters



Christopher Boone: the story's protagonist, who undertakes to investigate the mystery behind the dog Wellington's death.
Ed Boone: Christopher's father, who is a heating engineer. Up to the beginning of the story, he has been living with Christopher as a single parent for two years. He is usually very patient and understanding with Christopher.
Judi Boone: Christopher's mother. Christopher is told by his father that she died of a heart attack before the start of the book.There isn't much of a description of her, but as the story preceeds Christopher gives us more details about her.
Siobhan: Christopher's learning support, friend and mentor. She teaches him how society works and how to behave within complex guidelines.
Roger Shears (Mr Shears): he lived near the Boones but has left his wife before the story begins.
Eileen Shears (Mrs Shears):one of the neighbours, who attempts to console Ed for a time after Christopher learns of his mother's death. At the start of the novel, Mrs Shear's dog, Wellington, is found murdered with a garden fork.
Mrs Alexander: one of Christopher's neighbours, who tries to help Christopher.
Wellington: Mrs Shears' large black poodle, which Christopher finds dead in her front yard.
Tobi: Christopher's pet rat.


Overview



Thematische Einbettung in: Growing up / Family life / Living together (12 Stunden)

Mögliche Aufgaben zu folgenden Bereichen:
  • before reading
  • while reading
  • post reading


Before reading



The title

Brainstorming all the meanings and associations:
  • Curious
  • Incident
  • Dog
  • Night-time

Questions to talk about:
  • What do you think of this title?
  • Does the title make you want to read the book? Why?
  • What predictions can you make about the book or about the genre? Is it easy or hard to do this? Why?

What kind of book is this?

  • Working with extracts and illustrations from the book
  • Finding surprising or interesting things

E.G.: Mr Jeavons said that I liked maths because it was safe. He said I liked maths because it meant solving problems, and these problems were difficult and interesting, but there was always a straightforward answer at the end. And what he meant was that maths wasn’t like life because in life there are no straightforward answers at the end. I know he meant this because this is what he said.

The opening
  • Students read the extracts of chapter openings from the novel and decide which would make the best opening for the first chapter and explain their choice.
  • Writing an opening: Students get the first lines of the opening and continue writing to make an opening paragraph.

Working with reviews

Students read extracts from reviews and talk about what they lead them to expect from the novel.
...


While reading



Writing task chapters 2-53

Point of view: first person narration

One of the advantages of using a first person narrator is that the reader sees the world
from someone else’s point of view.

  • With a partner, choose an event from the novel so far and re-write it from the point of view of one of the other characters.
  • Talk about what is gained and what is lost when you tell the story from this new point of view. For example, one effect of having Christopher tell the story is that we can understand some of his behaviour because he explains his reasons, such as why he starts groaning.
  • As a class, talk about what sense you have so far of the way Christopher sees the world.


Discussing structure

Alternating chapters

You may have noticed that the chapters alternate between what is happening to Christopher in the story in the present and information about him, or memories of the past.

  • Talk about what you have learnt about Christopher from the chapters that are not directly telling the story.


Post reading



Drama activity: The boy who cannot tell a lie

We probably all like to think of ourselves as honest people who don’t lie. But the
truth is that without lots of little lies we might not get on so well with friends or
family. Some lies are told to make others feel better. For example, you might tell
someone their new haircut looks good, even though you think it looks terrible, or
that you missed them while you were on holiday, even though you were having such
a good time you hardly thought about them.
There are many traditional stories about situations in which people cannot lie. You
may know the story of Pinocchio, the puppet whose nose grows each time he lies.
You may also have seen the film Liar, Liar, starring Jim Carrey, in which a little boy
makes a wish that his father will be unable to lie for 24 hours, and his wish comes
true.

  • Find the reasons Christopher gives in Chapter 37 for not being able to lie.
  • In a small group, create a short drama called ‘The boy/girl who cannot tell a lie’.

  • Before you start, your group should talk about what has caused your character to be unable to lie, although you do not have to include an explanation in the final drama.
  • Your drama should include at least one situation in which your character’s inability to lie causes a problem, and at least one situation in which it has a positive outcome.
  • Your drama should have three scenes and last no more than 5 minutes.