Truth and Lies “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime”

Examine the role of truth and lies throughout the novel. “The most dangerous lies are the lies you tell yourself.” In “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime”, Mark Haddon contrasts the characters of Christopher Boone and his Father in the way they deal with the truth. Christopher tries to always tell the absolute truth and his Father tries to avoid it. In the novel, Haddon explains how Christopher deals with not physically being able to lie, how his Father has a repetitive pattern of trying to cover up the truth, and what effect Chris’s father’s lies have on him. In ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’, Haddon tells the reader how Christopher’s Asperger’s syndrome prohibits him from lying and how he deals with this. Chris is not able to lie because of the discomfort it causes him to think about scenarios that have not happened in real life. At one point in the novel, Chris explains to the reader how he compensates for his inability to tell lies in the quote, “And I said, ‘I have been out.’ This is called a white lie. A white lie is not a lie at all. It is where you tell the truth but you do not tell all of the truth.” (Haddon 48).

This shows that if there is a scenario where Christopher has to do anything to cover up what really happened, it must be in a hasty way. This statement also summarizes Chris’s life in that he must compensate for even the smallest things he does because of how his disease affects his brain and the way he sees things. We see the impact of Chris’s disability and Krista Morrell Ms. Bellian ELA SCP 20 August 2018 the way he handles telling the truth throughout the story in that his father gets aggravated with him every time he knows Chris is telling a white lie. In ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’, Chris’s father, Ed Boone, continually avoids the truth by lying to himself and his son. The biggest lie Ed hid from Christopher was that his mother was dead.

The quote, “Then he said, ‘I did it for your good, Christopher. Honestly I did. I never meant to lie.’” (Haddon 114) was after Chris had found out the truth about his mother. In the first sentence he states that he lied on purpose to protect Christopher from the truth so he didn’t get hurt. He then uses the word “Honestly” assuming that after lying to Chris about something extremely upsetting he would trust anything that came out of his mouth. And in the third and final sentence goes on to say that the lie was accidental which was the complete opposite of what he said before. This shows that Ed is so used to lying that he is not aware of his words while doing so. This also displays that Ed is selfish because he lies to people and does not think about the effect it has on them. Ed would constantly lie about significant things to prevent him from getting in trouble, even if it means watching someone else suffer.

In ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’, we see the impact that lies have on Christopher throughout the book and how a lie changed his life. In the quote, “ It was like the room was swinging from side to side…And I had been sick because there was sick all over the bed and on my hands and arms and face” (Haddon 112-113) we see the physical effects a lie has on Christopher. He began to feel dizzy, passed out and then realized that he had thrown up all over himself when he woke up. In contrast to this, lies have also changed Chris’s life for the better. If Ed never lied about killing Wellington, Chris never would’ve found his mother, as he goes on the adventure to find her because he is afraid of his father. ‘I couldn’t trust him, even though he had said “Trust me,” because he had told a lie about a big thing’ (Haddon 122).

Without Ed’s dishonesty, Chris would not have learnt as much as he did. In the novel, Mark Haddon shows Christopher’s strategy of telling the truth, his Father’s ignorant pattern of lying, and how Chris is affected by his Father’s lies. We can see the idea of this essay in the real world by Haddon showing what it is like to raise an autistic child. Dealing with lies is only one difficulty of being an asperger’s sufferer, and by Haddon showing the direction and steadiness of Chris’s beliefs, it gives the reader an approach of what it is like to live with a disability.