Study Guide

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Order and Logic

By Mark Haddon

Order and Logic

Christopher likes for things to be in a very particular order. He doesn't mind the lady who lives next door moving in after his mom dies, just as long as she keeps the jars in the kitchen ordered according to size. He's also very logical about the world, but at the expense of civility and sentiment. (He tells a priest there's no such thing as God because nothing can exist outside of the universe, for one.) These two factors – order and logic –unite in the realm of mathematics, where Christopher is happiest. Bottom line: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time reminds us life is pretty chaotic (and that's so not okay with Christopher).

Questions About Order and Logic

  1. When Christopher sees the sign indicating that a train is approaching, he writes that it "made [him] feel better because everything had an order and a plan" (227.6). These words, "an order and a plan," are the words people often use to describe faith in God or religion. Is it surprising that Christopher is so fiercely anti-religion, then?
  2. Christopher explains his hatred of the colors yellow and brown by writing that "in life you have to take lots of decisions," so "it is good to have a reason why you hate some things and you like others" (131.1). But does he give any valid reasons for hating these colors? Or is it just an arbitrary way to impose order on things?
  3. Christopher likes things to be in a very specific order. Do you imagine that he's given any thought about the best order for things to be in, or does he simply attach to the way things are the first time he encounters them?
  4. When Christopher learns that his father killed Wellington, he uses logic to deduce that he's therefore capable of killing Christopher, too. But this ignores the fact that his father has cared for him for years and years, and consistently reassured him of his love for him. So is this assumption logical or illogical?

Chew on This

Christopher always has to reestablish an order to things in a way that's familiar to him – order is even more important to him than love.

Christopher's preference for plastic over wood (131.1) represents a preference for man-made things over natural things, and a preference for the known quantities of the assembly line over the spontaneity of nature.