Love and Veracity Theme Analysis in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Love and veracity are the most ineffable concepts to grasp as well as the most painful. For instance, there are many ways for someone to lie without actually lying. Likewise, there are many ways to show love without acting it out. Nonetheless, what seems good can also bite back. In the story, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” written by Mark Haddon, where an autistic boy named Christopher figures the complexities of the world around him as he tracks down a dog murder, showed the immeasurable truth behind love and honesty. Stringing the reader along how truth and love do not have a single meaning to it, how every character has a different perspective on it and a distinct way of expressing it.
At first, Christopher only sees lies as verbal communication, this means he doesn’t apply manipulation, deception, withholding information as a lie. Additionally, it seems that Christopher has a firm set of rules of what he considers lying and telling the truth is. No gray areas, only black and white. For example, when he came home after his investigation he told his father that he's been out when in reality he concealed the fact that he went out searching for clues. Christopher believes that he didn’t really lie because indeed he was outside and went on explaining, “ 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” (39). Meaning Christopher's perspective on white lies is still considered telling the truth, but for others, this can be noted as a form of deception. This tells the reader that he hasn’t developed an in-between ground of lie and truth possibly since he is still young and needs more experience of the world around him.
Fortunately, Haddon did show Christopher’s development when he realized that truth can be much more than the opposite of lying, it could act as a two-edged sword. At the moment when Christopher learned about what his father was trying to hide from him- his mother wasn’t dead, she abandoned him- nothing could prepare him from the emotional roller coaster of betrayal. And due to the fact of how he builds his love and trust with others by telling the truth, he could not understand why his father, who claims he did it out of love, would lie to him. This experience brought Christoper to a realization that the truth does not act as a shield for emotional harm, instead, it can inflict much more collateral damage than a lie ever could. Nevertheless, the author shows Christopher’s character development by his changing views on veracity and love, learning it is okay to bend the logic he once had.
Moreover, an important thing to note is how Christopher’s dad, Ed, defines love and truth. He believed that keeping Judy’s abandonment a secret will help protect his child from getting hurt. Conversely, this backfired on him when Christopher was obviously devastated to find out his father had been lying to him for several years. This brings up the topic of if it is acceptable to lie in some circumstances and in Ed’s perspective, the truth does not matter as long as it can protect his son from getting hurt.
Interestingly, I find it ironic that the father hides the truth out of love, while the child tells the truth as a sign of love. Although, working on opposite ends contradicting each other I do see and understand both sides. And like I said in the beginning, each character in this story sees love and veracity differently and displays them in their own unique way. With that, I do agree that people can show love through being truthful and sincere, just like Christopher. However, I don’t necessarily agree with Ed’s decision to lie in order to protect. Similarly in the book, if individuals choose to hide the truth it will only prolong the problem and make it bigger. Resulting in a strained relationship where it is even more difficult to regain the victim’s trust again.
My mom once said, “ lies and love can never coexist,” and I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. Even though love and truth can not be equated to a single definition, in a certain way, they can be measured through the quality of being honest and genuine. Not only will this help provide a deep bond of trust, being transparent with one another can build a strong foundation for a strong healthy relationship. Therefore, I agree more with Christopher’s views of love and truth because being truthful as a love language is far better than your loved one feeling betrayed due to lies.