You are on page 1of 2

Think of the novel as narrated in the third person, instead of Christopher.

Describe how this change


would affect our views of the characters and the emotional impact of the novel.

Point of view is the perspective from which a story is told. The point of view in fiction
determines whose eyes the reader experiences the story through. It can be a key choice, as
different points of view have different strengths and weaknesses. We may choose to tell our
story in the first, second or third person. Narrative voice is especially important in third person
stories. First person narratives already have a narrator built in; the narrative voice is the teller's
voice.

The novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, written by Mark Haddon,
is a novel about a series of events, written in chronological order, centered on an interesting,
engaging yet unusual, autistic boy named Christopher John Francis Boone. The book is written
in the first person point-of-view, as Christopher is the narrator of the story. Christopher
conducts an investigation to find the murderer of his neighbours poodle, which he finds dead,
on the front lawn. We meet and perceive all the characters, such as, Ed Boone, Judy Boone,
Roger Shears, Eileen Shears, Mrs. Alexander, Siobhan, Wellington, through the eyes and
thoughts of Christopher. Christopher archives his findings, feelings and the outcomes of his
investigation in the novel, which gives us a primary source on how exactly the events played
out, and direct access to Christopher's mind, allowing us to understand how he thinks.

The fact that the novel is crafted in the first person means that our experiences and
feelings are filtered through Christophers perspectives. Christopher is the 15 year old
protagonist and narrator of the novel and everything we see, experience and make impressions
of, are infused with Christophers personality and understanding. We experience Christophers
take on all that is happening to and around him and we are never sure we are getting the whole
story, but probably a biased look at his interpretation of the events through his eyes. We
therefore, see, believe, perceive, understand and form our impressions of the characters and
events in the way that Christopher wants and allows us to.

On the other hand, if Haddon had written The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-
time in a way in which the narrator of the story was a third-person narrator, then the views of
the characters, and the emotional impact the novel would have on the readers would
drastically change. The third person narration would help us to be less sentimental about the
characters as there is less control of the characters thought processes which leaves some
distance between what is happening on the outside and what the characters are thinking.
Therefore by writing the novel in the third person we would be able to form more independent
perspectives of the characters and events in the novel rather than being so heavily influenced

1|Page
by those presented by Christopher. For example, rather than knowing exactly what the
Christopher is thinking, we would be forced to analyse, do the work to try and understand and
form our own impressions of what he is experiencing or saying in that moment, based upon his
actions.

If the story was written in the third person we would be allowed more freedom to form
our own impressions of what is really happening, and what we get to see and experience for
ourselves. We would be allowed more room to draw upon our reading ability, analytical skills
and natural empathy to deduce the characters motivations and feelings based on what we
believe is really happening in the story. Additionally, because the third person narration shows
the characters acting upon their emotions rather than telling us how they feel this builds an
interesting barrier between what we are reading and what the characters are actually doing
and feeling and leaves us less sentimental, emotionally involved or drawn into the story.

Had Haddon written the story in the third person, we would also have been given an
opportunity to hear more versatile points of view of events in the story, which would have
allowed us to create a richer, more complicated and possibly excited view of the outcome of
the story. Our perspectives of the different characters would have been more objectively
formed and our interpretations of their behavior would have been different. This would also
have allowed us to create a more intriguing personalized view of the story rather than merely
accepting Christophers view.

Having been written in the first person, it is believed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the
Night-time leaves us with a greater appreciation of their own ability to feel, express, and
interpret emotions, however, those emotions might have been different had the story been
told through the voice of the third person.

By Joanna Russell

2|Page