The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
How we cite our quotes:
We do this because sometimes Father wants to give me a hug, but I do not like hugging people, so we do this instead, and it means that he loves me. (31.5)
We don't know about you, but we find this image both really sweet and devastatingly sad. Maybe we just really like hugging. Sure, there's nothing intrinsic about hugs that screams "love." You can hug people you don't like – your opponent in a boxing match, say, or your least-favorite relative. But there's certainly something in an embrace that signals a deep emotional connection. To imagine Christopher and his father touching fingertips seems like a terribly inadequate replacement.
But Mother was cremated. This means that she was put into a coffin and burnt and ground up and turned into ash and smoke. I do not know what happens to the ash and I couldn't ask at the crematorium because I didn't go to the funeral. But the smoke goes out of the chimney and into the air and sometimes I look up into the sky and I think that there are molecules of Mother up there, or in clouds over Africa or the Antarctic, or coming down as rain in the rainforests in Brazil, or in snow somewhere. (61.12)
There are a lot of passages in this book that suggest that Christopher has no understanding of love, and is unable to have affection for another person. But this passage express the essence of having love for another human being better than any number of hugs and kisses could possibly be.
But when you get married it is because you want to live together and have children, and if you get married in a church you have to promise that you will stay together until death do us part. And if you don't want to live together you have to get divorced and this is because one of you has done sex with somebody else or because you are having arguments and you hate each other and you don't want to live in the same house any more and have children. (67.100)
Okay, let's see… marriage. Want to live together? Check. Want to have children? Check. Stay together? Check. Monogamy? Check. Hmm, that's strange, aren't we missing something? Marriage… there's got to be something else. Oh, wait, that's right: LOVE! Right, that's at the heart of why people get married, yet Christopher makes no mention of it.