The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
Language and Communication Quotes in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
How we cite our quotes:
This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them. (13.1)
Regardless of how Christopher might try to deny it, Shmoop thinks he has a sense of humor – it's in there somewhere, he just needs to recognize it.
Siobhan also says that if you close your mouth and breathe out loudly through your noise it can mean that you are relaxed, or that you are bored, or that you are angry and it all depends on how much air comes out of your noise and how fast and what shape your mouth is when you do it and how you are sitting and what you said just before and hundreds of other things which are too complicated to work out in a few seconds. (29.4)
Isn't this an amazing passage? Who knew we were doing something so darn impressive every time we read someone's body language and facial expressions? It does sound way too complicated to work out in a few seconds. Such an amazing feat! And, the way he describes it, it's entirely understandable that Christopher is unable to do it so quickly.
And this is because when people tell you what to do it is usually confusing and does not make sense.
For example, people often say "Be quiet," but they don't tell you how long to be quiet for. Or you see a sign which says KEEP OFF THE GRASS but it should say KEEP OFF THE GRASS AROUND THIS SIGN or KEEP OFF ALL THE GRASS IN THIS PARK because there is lots of grass you are allowed to walk on. (59.3-4)
We don't know about this one. Christopher's an unbelievably bright kid. Just as he's learned about skills like being polite and chatting, shouldn't he be able to infer what this kind of sign really indicates? We know he values exactitude, but this seems like an example of him just wanting to show how most people are, as he says, "stupid" (139.8).