Study Guide

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Chapter 179

By Mark Haddon

Chapter 179

  • Christopher looks at the sky for a long time and thinks about how big and far away stars are (we know, right?). He also thinks about how small we humans are, and how our problems are not nearly as important as we think they are. This kid is deep.
  • He sleeps pretty badly: it's cold and he's uncomfortable and Toby makes a lot of noise scratching around in his cage.
  • In the morning, his father comes out to look for him, so he covers himself with a plastic tarp to hide, and takes out his Swiss Army knife just in case he needs to defend himself.
  • His father comes to the shed but can't find him (Chris nailed his hiding place, apparently) so he goes back inside and eventually gets in his van and drives away.
  • Christopher decides to go live with Mrs. Shears, figuring that when he tells her that he knows who killed Wellington, she'll be so happy she'll want him to stay there.
  • He knocks on her door, but there's no answer. Shoot – he needs a back-up plan.
  • First, he thinks of all the things he can't do, like go home or live with Siobhan or Mrs. Alexander.
  • The one thing he can do, it seems, is go live with his mother.
  • Hmmm.
  • He has her address, but she lives in London, and he's never been there before.
  • The thought of going somewhere on his own is really scary, but the thought of going back home with his dog-killing dad is even scarier.
  • So he makes a diagram of his options and, by process of elimination, decides that going to live his mother is really his best bet.
  • All this makes him think about how he'll never really become an astronaut because he would have to live thousands of miles from home – talk about scary.
  • Then, standing there in the street, he comes up with a plan. Things are starting to look up.
  • He walks to Mrs. Alexander's house and asks her to take care of Toby for him because he's going to London to live with his mother.
  • After some questions, Christopher reveals that he thought his mother was dead, but really his father had been lying to him.
  • Oh, and his father is the one who killed Wellington. This sure is a lot of disclosure for one afternoon.
  • You can probably imagine the expression on Mrs. Alexander's face as she hears this.
  • She tries to get Christopher to come inside and call his father, assuming there must be some mistake.
  • No can do, Mrs. A. Instead, Christopher runs back to his house.
  • The door is locked, so he picks up a brick and smashes a window, opening the door that way. Yikes.
  • He gets his school bag and throws some food in it, but then he notices his father's cell phone and wallet are on the table.
  • For a moment he freezes, thinking his father must be home. But then he remembers that his van wasn't parked outside, so he can't be home.
  • Here's what that means: (1) he's safe, and (2) his father must have forgotten his wallet when he left earlier.
  • Christopher takes his dad's bank card out of the wallet: he knows the pin code and can use it to get some money to go to London. This is getting sneaky.
  • He's planning on asking Siobhan at school how to get to the train station. While he's walking, he realizes that his fear of being in a new place and his fear of being near his father are inversely proportional.
  • What does that mean? Well, when one fear gets bigger, the other gets smaller (and his overall fear remains constant).
  • When Christopher arrives at school, he sees his father's van is parked outside. He doesn't take this well; in fact, it makes him vomit. He wants to curl into a ball and groan again, but knows if he does this, his father will find him. So he takes some deep breaths, counting the breaths – and squaring the numbers, naturally.
  • He decides to ask someone else for directions to the train station, and he takes out the saw blade of his Swiss Army knife again – you know, just in case.
  • It turns out the train station is just down the street, so he follows a bus which is heading in that direction.
  • Unfortunately, he gets a little lost. Usually, he says, he would just picture a map in his head and use that to find the train station. But his brain isn't working so well this time around.
  • He sorts out a very efficient method of wandering until he finds the station. He focuses really hard on his internal map so he can ignore everyone and everything around him.
  • And guess what? Success! He finally arrives at the train station, and goes inside.