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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


by Mark Haddon

Freedom and Confinement Quotes in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

And then I realised that there was nothing I could do which felt safe. [...] And then I imagine crossing out all the possibilities which were impossible, which is like in a maths exam, when you look at all the questions and you decide which ones you are going to do and which ones you are not going to do and you cross out all the ones which you are not going to do because then your decision is final and you can't change your mind. (179.23)

Look how naturally Christopher makes sure to limit his options, because he finds freedom so overwhelming and requires structure. This is a nice example, with the image of the diagram of options neatly laid out, and crossed off one-by-one. Also notice how, out of nowhere, he insists that changing your mind is out of the question. No – once you pick one, you aren't free to switch.

Quote #8

And then I thought how I could never be an astronaut because being an astronaut meant being hundreds of thousands of miles away from home, and my home was in London now and that was about 100 miles away which was more than 1,000 times nearer than my home would be if I was in space, and thinking about this made me hurt. (179.27)

This is a pretty crushing realization. Remember above, where we discussed how Christopher's love of small spaces would allow him to float freely in outer space with no problem? Well, here he admits that there's another kind of confinement important to him – namely, staying confined to his neighborhood. And if he can't overcome that self-confinement, he'll never reach that greater freedom.

Quote #9

So I climbed onto the middle shelf and I pulled one of the cases across like a door so that I was shut in, and it was dark and there was no one in there with me and I couldn't hear people talking so I felt much calmer and it was nice. (197.47)

Christopher climbs onto the luggage rack on the train. The irony here is that by confining himself into this small space, he escapes from the policeman who's been searching for him. Result? Freedom!

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