Ed Boone

Photo from a stage production of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timeof Ed Boone
Credit: Brinkoff/Mögenberg
Ed's relationship with Christopher is loving, but tense (from a recent UK tour of Gielgud theatre production)

Ed is Christopher's father. Ed and Christopher have a loving but at times tense relationship. Ed has some very good traits, he is very patient and caring with Christopher and, like his son, he shows stubborn determination when the school initially won't allow Christopher to take his Maths A-level. However, on occasions Ed loses his temper with Christopher - in one scene he and Christopher actually have a fight. As Christopher investigates the murder of Wellington the dog, he and the audience discover two disturbing truths about Ed - that he lied to Christopher about his mother's death and that he killed Wellington.

These revelations cause a complete breakdown in Ed and Christopher's relationship - it is not until the end of the play that Christopher begins to trust him again.

How is Ed like this?EvidenceAnalysis
DeterminedEd shows his determination when he stubbornly fights for Christopher to do his Maths A-level in school.Mrs Gascoyne: "Mr Boone, nobody has ever taken an A-level in the school before." Ed: "He can be the first then." Mrs Gascoyne: "I don't know if we have the facilities in the school to allow him to do that." Ed: "Then get the facilities." Ed shows that he will not take 'no' for an answer from the head teacher Mrs Gascoyne. Ed is determined to get the best for his son in the same way Christopher is determined to go to London and later take his A-level.
Caring and patientEd is frequently caring and patient with Christopher, he puts up with Christopher’s sometimes unusual habits and behaviours.Ed: "Christopher, do you understand that I love you?" Ed holds his right hand up and spreads his fingers out in a fan. Christopher does the same with his left hand. They make their fingers and thumbs touch each other. Ed is open about his feelings for Christopher and tells him very plainly and clearly that he loves him. The stage directions show how Ed and Christopher interact physically, it is a sign of how close they are - Christopher normally reacts violently if touched.
Fiery temperedEd shows on a number of occasions that he has a fiery temper, hitting Christopher is an example of this.Ed: "I ask you to do one thing for me, Christopher. One thing." Christopher: "I didn't want to talk to Mrs Alexander. It was Mrs Alexander who..." Ed grabs Christopher’s arm. Christopher screams. They fight each other. Ed shakes Christopher hard with both hands. Christopher falls unconscious for a few seconds. Ed stands above him. Although it doesn't say that Ed hits Christopher in the stage directions, Ed later apologises for hitting him. Seeing this scene on stage is shocking for the audience and they see that Ed can have an explosive temper. It is important to remember that Ed is not a villain, although his use of violence cannot be condoned, he is only human. The audience can empathise with him losing his temper, his wife left him for a neighbour, his relationships with both his wife and Mrs Shears did not work out and he is caring for Christopher by himself. He has a lot to be stressed about which may explain his temper.

Social context

Ed sometimes gets frustrated with Christopher and loses his temper. At one stage this results in an actual fight. However, Stephens wants us to see that this is not because of Christopher's unique behaviours. Living with people and parenting in general can be very challenging. In fact, Ed doesn’t see Christopher's conduct as strange - as Judy says, he just 'gets on with it' and tries to help him get through day to day challenges like any good parent would.

Sean Gleeson who played Ed explains the tense and strained relationship between Christopher and Ed.

Analysing the evidence

Read this extract from the play then answer the question that follows.

ED:

I'll do you a deal. Five minutes OK? That's all.

He sets the timer for five minutes. It starts ticking.

Christopher, look .... Things can’t go on like this. I don’t know about you, but this…this just hurts too much. You being in the house but refusing to talk to me. You have to learn to trust me...And I don’t care how long it takes…if it’s a minute one day and two minutes the next and three minutes the next and it takes years I don't care. Because this is important. This is more important than anything else.

Question

What does this extract tell us about Ed and his relationship with Christopher?

How to analyse the quotation

  • "I'll do you a deal. Five minutes OK? That's all." - The fact that Ed gives timings shows a deep understanding of Christopher, Ed knows that he likes to be given time frames for things.
  • "I don’t know about you, but this....this just hurts too much." - This shows that he cares intensely about Christopher and that the pain of not getting along with him is unbearable.
  • "This is more important than anything else." - Ed clearly values his relationship with Christopher above all things. This might not be true of his mother, Judy.

How to use this in an essay

This extract reveals a lot about Ed and his relationship with Christopher. When Ed says 'I'll do you a deal. Five minutes OK? That’s all.' He shows that he knows and understands Christopher incredibly well. Christopher likes to be given time frames and his father does this here to try to regain his trust. Ed also reveals how deeply he cares about Christopher when he says 'I don’t know about you, but this....this just hurts too much', the pause in the line and the repetition of 'this' indicates that Ed is at the point of breaking down emotionally because he is so upset about the situation between himself and Christopher. This is made more devastating when Ed states 'I don’t know about you', Christopher does not deal with emotion in the same way as other people, and so Ed genuinely is unsure about how his son feels at this stage. This makes the audience feel sympathy for Ed. Finally, Ed asserts that 'This is more important than anything else' referring to his relationship with Christopher. Ed puts his relationship with Christopher before even his own happiness, you could argue that Judy, his mother, does not always do the same.