Opinionative review on 'The Curious Dog in the Nighttime'

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‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’

“No-one is a stranger, that the people we turn away from in the street are more like us than we dare admit, that the things we have in common will always outweigh the things which separate us.”

Mark Haddon

Everyone is different – it may just be the colour of their hair or it may be their race, religion or intellectual and emotional capability. No matter what, everyone should be treated equally. In the end, we are all human beings. This point of accepting diversity is just one message that Mark Haddon conveyed in his compelling book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. It is clear through his portrayal of characters living their day to day lives, that he wanted us to recognise that everyone is different and that we should accept them as they are. People shouldn’t feel the need to change their opinions or feel any disadvantage because of the views or likes of others, nor should they be ridiculed for their choices and lifestyle. Just because a person has a disability or a different skin colour, doesn’t mean they should be treated differently to others; they should be accepted as the unique human being that they are.

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Throughout the book, Haddon effectively used the most diverse characters to convey his messages. Haddon uses Christopher, a teenage boy suffering from autism, to convey his messages to the reader. Christopher is clearly different; he throws himself on the ground and groans when he doesn’t receive what he wants and stops eating for days on end. The style of writing – the book is written in the first person from Christopher’s perspective gives us an incredible insight into how Christopher views the people he encounters and invites the reader to understand and appreciate the reasons for his actions. The ...

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The Quality of Written Communication is brilliant, There is a clear indication of a candidate who writes very fluidly whilst making few errors. This could be a result of spell-checking though, and there's no shame in that because we all make writing errors even without realising, so it is greatly recommended that candidates do this.

The Level of Analysis is good. The candidate shows much evidence that they have a deep-set knowledge of the events of the novel and also the presentation of characters in it. The personal response is well-justified and shows intelligence and proficiency in writing a balanced argument. As said earlier, a more precise response drawing attention to the technical terminology of written expression would help the candidate score higher, focusing on the means by which Haddon uses character, space and narrative voice in order to develop plot and character.

This is a very competent essay, which combines objectivity and subjectivity well to form a well-written, honest, and completely valid review. The candidate shows a deep understanding of the purpose of the novel and also how Haddon forms language in order to create a world alien to our own - the world of an autistic 15 year-old boy. There is a sensitive appraisal of how Christopher sees the world, and the means by which he comes to understand it as his own. The opinions formed here are clear and justified, but perhaps I would like to see more of a language-based analysis integrated. Through what means does his characters? What styles of narrative do you read? Notice how everything involving emotion is described very in a very one-dimensional way, and often with a limited vocabulary (Christopher frequently uses "I said", "He said", and "She said") - the words in the narrative are very simplistic. This is the type of analysis that will help improve the review and show the examiner there is a greater understanding of the language devices used by Haddon in order to 'create' Christopher's character.