Everyone lies. It’s not uncommon. We all lie to get out of something or maybe to protect someone. Anyone who has read Mark Haddon’s story knows, Christopher hates liars and lying in general. However when it comes to Christopher, certain lies aren’t considered as one. Lying is what harms every relationship in this story because it breaks trust. Although Christopher doesn’t like to lie he still does it. In the novel he claims that he cannot lie. His dad also lies in the story, but his lies and Christopher’s lies are interpreted differently. In the novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, the main message or theme the novel presents about lying is, that it is very easy to just lie in order to get out of a situation or get your way, without realizing the consequences that comes with that lie.
Christopher and his father are unbreakable in a way. They have a bond that is like no other ever since his father told him that Christopher’s mother passed away. Christopher relies on his father for everything, and the two of them plan to move away when Christopher goes to college. Two years ago Ed Boone told his son that his mother passed away from a heart attack. Because of Christopher’s autism, when he found out about what happened he remained normal. He couldn’t figure out why or how his mother could’ve had a heart attack at such a young age. “ Mother was only 38 years old and heart attacks usually happen to older people, and mother was very active and rode a bicycle and ate food which was healthy and high in fiber and low saturated fat like chicken and vegetables and muesli”. After the death of Mrs. Shears dog, Wellington, Christopher takes it upon himself to find the killer. Siobhan, his instructor, told Christopher he should write a book on it. He explained that his book will not be funny or have any jokes in it because he believes jokes make no sense. Throughout the story Christopher expresses that without the truth there is no love. You have to be truthful in order to love someone.
That is why Christopher thought he’d always say the truth. In chapter thirty-seven, Christopher explains his mom would call him a good person because he doesn’t lie, but the way he sees it is that, it’s not because he’s a good person it’s because he simply cannot lie. He said, “I do not tell lies. Mother used to say this was because I was a good person. But it is not because I am a good person. It is because I simply can’t tell lies”. When christopher thinks about lies, it makes him “shaky and scared.” Yet later in the story he tells a “white lie” to his dad when trying to hide the fact that he was still trying to find Wellingtons killer. In his head it isn’t considered lying he explains, “ 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.” This little white lie is what sets off the rest of the story and causes to reveal other things that shouldn’t have been revealed.
While investing Wellington’s death Christopher meets a woman named Mrs. Alexander and after a while he grows to trust her. When Christopher was asking Mrs. Alexander questions about Mr. Shears the truth came out about his mom and Mr. Shears had an affair. She says, “ Your mother before she died, was very good friends with Mr. Shears…I mean that they were very good friends. Very, very good friends.” Christopher picked up on it and understood they had an affair, but his mind didn’t take it the way normal people would he just absorbed the information and wrote it in his book. Later on, Ed Boone finds the book and gets furious that he was still trying to find Wellingtons killer and that Mrs. Alexander told him about the affair. It led to father hitting him so hard he knocked out. He also hid the book, which led to christopher finding it in his closet along with letters that had his name on it with handwriting his mom has. After reading several letters Christopher felt sick because he realized his mother was not dead or had a heart attack. His father sees that Christopher read the letters and begged for forgiveness.
He stumbled on his words, he didn’t know what to say. Christopher was just quiet and leads to Mr. Boone telling Christopher the truth on who killed Wellington. In this moment Christopher lost trust in his father. He was scared he would get killed too. Christopher said, “ I had to get out of the house. Father had murdered Wellington. That meant he would murder me, because I couldn’t trust him, even though he had said “trust me,” because he had told a lie about a big thing.” (Haddon, 122) This lie hurt their relationship to the point Christopher ran away.
Each person’s lie harmed relationships. Even though they thought at the time it was okay it escalated into something bigger. Christopher said it was okay to lie about something as long it was little. Ed Boone lied to get himself out of the situation. They both think it was okay, for Christopher, he always believes he is right so there is no way to convince him otherwise. However, according to the article, The Ways We Lie by Stephanie Ericsson, she says, “There is a world of difference between telling functional lies and living a lie.” Ed Boone from the start should have told the truth about what really happened with Christophers mom instead of living in his lies. Losing his sons trust wasn’t worth it for a lie.
From a small white lie to a big delusion lie. Lying affects everyone differently. Even though it is part of our daily lives, we don’t realize the harm that comes with it. By the end of the story we learned that Ed Boone lied to Christopher about his mom being dead, Judy Boone was lying about the friendship her and Mr. Shears had, when it was really an affair, and Christophers small white lie which caused his father to react the way he did and led to Christopher finding his mother’s letters. Everyone chose to lie to get out of a situation, but in the end it ruined the key to relationships, which is trust.
- Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon. Spark Publishing, 2014.
- Ericson, Mark. “The Ways We Lie” Utne Reader, 1992