Study Guide

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Chapter 211

By Mark Haddon

Chapter 211

  • Christopher stays hidden in the luggage racks. He wonders if they've already gone through London, and if he should've gotten off by now.
  • The train stops four more times, and then finally it stops and doesn't start moving again. So Christopher gets off the shelf and looks around. The policeman is gone, but so is his backpack, which had food, clean clothes, and math books in it. Bah.
  • He sees another policeman, but he decides he doesn't like policemen so much anymore.
  • Christopher walks off the train, and again imagines a big red line on the floor for him to follow.
  • Someone stops Christopher and tells him there's a policeman looking for him, and he should wait there while he goes to get him.
  • But – surprise, surprise – Christopher keeps walking.
  • His chest hurts and he covers his ears with his hands. He's completely overwhelmed by all the signs and billboards: the letters start to look like gibberish.
  • He's really scared by now so – as has become his custom – he opens up the saw blade on his Swiss Army knife.
  • Someone comes up to ask if he's lost. But Christopher doesn't realize that the guy's being friendly, and so he takes out the knife. Naturally, the guy is freaked out.
  • Christopher feels awful.
  • Soon enough, he sees a sign that reads "Information," so he walks to a lady behind a window and asks if he's in London, and if she can tell him how to get to his mother's address.
  • The lady tells him to take the Tube. Christopher doesn't understand, but she explains that she's talking about the subway (or, as it's called there, the Underground).
  • As he walks through the station, Christopher is determined to succeed: "And I thought I can do this because I was doing really well and I was in London and I would find my mother" (211.47).
  • At the end of the big room he comes to an escalator. This is the first time he's ever seen one, and it seems futuristic, so he takes the stairs instead.
  • He ends up in another room in which people are using a machine to buy tickets.
  • He watches a bunch of people (forty-seven, to be exact) use the machine and memorizes how they do it. He also watches how they walk through the turnstiles, including how they put their ticket inside and it comes out at the other end.
  • Then he does it himself.
  • Someone shouts at him to hurry up so he barks back.
  • He sees a sign for the Bakerloo Line, which the lady told him to take. He also sees the station where his mother lives: "Willesden Junction."
  • This time he has to take an escalator. It's scary, but he does it anyway.
  • Finally, he arrives at the train platform. It's narrow and very crowded and he doesn't like it one bit.
  • Suddenly, there's a horrible, loud screeching noise – "like people fighting with swords" (211.59) – and a rush of wind. Christopher closes his eyes and groans loudly to block out the noise, but it just keeps getting louder, and Christopher thinks that maybe the station is collapsing and he's going to die.
  • Eventually it quiets down, and when he finally opens his eyes, he sees that there's a train right in front of him – that's what was making the crazy roaring sound.
  • He also hears a strange moaning sound, "like a dog when it has hurt its paw," and realizes that he's making it himself (211.59).
  • The train doors close and the train pulls away.
  • More people arrive on the platform and the same thing happens again: another train pulls up, people get on, it pulls away. This happens a few more times.
  • Christopher feels sick and sweaty and scared: he just wants to go to sleep so he won't hurt anymore.