The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Analysing extracts

The question

How does Stephens present Christopher's mother, Judy in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time?

For the first part of the essay you will have to analyse how Judy is presented in the extract.

Look again at the extract below with some highlighted points that you could write about in your answer. Think about how Judy is presented in the rest of the play too.

Judy: Dear Christopher. (1) I said I wanted to explain to you why I went away when I had the time to do it properly. (2) Now I have lots of time. So I'm sitting on the sofa here with this letter and the radio on and I'm going to try and explain.

(3) I was not a very good mother Christopher. Maybe if things had been different, (4) maybe if you'd been different, I might have been better at it. But that's just the way things turned out.

(5) I'm not like your father. Your father is a much more patient person. He just gets on with things and if things upset him he doesn't let it show.

But that's not the way I am and there’s nothing I can do to change it.

Do you remember once when we shopping in town together? And we went into Bentalls and it was really crowded and we had to get a Christmas present for Grandma? And you were frightened because of all the people in the shop. It was the middle of Christmas shopping when everyone was in town. And I was talking to Mr. Land who works on the kitchen floor and went to school with me. And you crouched down on the floor and put your hands over your ears and (6) you were in the way of everyone so I got cross because I don't like shopping at Christmas either…

  • (1) "I said I wanted to explain to you why I went away when I had the time to do it properly." - Judy is trying to make amends with Christopher and explain her actions. This shows that she doesn’t want there to be any hatred between them. She values their relationship.
  • (2) "Now I have lots of time." - We can infer from this quote that Judy misses Christopher. Not having to look after him means she has more time to herself but perhaps this only gives her more time to miss him.
  • (3) "I was not a very good mother Christopher." - Judy is painfully honest. In her opinion she was not a good mother which isn't an easy thing to admit.
  • (4) "maybe if you'd been different, I might have been better at it." - By saying that if Christopher had been different she might have been a better mother, Judy reveals that she was not very good at coping with Christopher's unique personality.
  • (5) "I'm not like your father. Your father is a much more patient person." - Judy is honest and not afraid of admitting that Ed is better at dealing with Christopher's behaviour. This is an admirable quality.
  • (6) "you were in the way of everyone so I got cross because I don’t like shopping at Christmas either..." - Judy shows why she might have struggled with Christopher’s behaviour. In this quote and in quote (4) there is the hint that Judy is selfish. She might not like shopping at Christmas but she should be putting Christopher’s needs first.