Braving the unknown

A photo of Christopher on an escalator
Credit: BRINKOFF/MÖGENBERG
Christopher faces many challenges on his journey to London (Gielgud theatre production recent UK tour)

Braving the unknown is a theme that plays a big part in Christopher's experiences during the play. He has to be brave and try new things in order to get to the bottom of his investigation of Wellington's death. He also has to be very brave during his journey to London to find his mother, tackling the daunting London Underground by himself. He also has to face the uncertainties of his A-level exam. In getting through all these challenges Christopher grows as a person and learns a lot about himself and his own capabilities.

Stephens shows that facing your fears and conquering the unknown is a positive challenge to undertake.

How is the theme of braving the unknown shown in the play?

In The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time, Stephens explores the theme of braving the unknown through:

  • Christopher trying new things while he is investigating into the dog's death
  • Christopher's journey to London and the challenges he faces along the way
  • Christopher taking his A-level exam, when he is only 15, and passing it
  • showing how much Christopher has grown through these experiences
How does Stephens show this?EvidenceAnalysis
Christopher's investigationChristopher has to go and speak to strangers to investigate the dog’s death. He sometimes finds this very challenging."I don’t talk to strangers. But I'm doing detective work."As Christopher states, he doesn't usually talk to strangers, but he knows that he must if he is to complete his investigation. He bravely speaks to people he doesn't know.
Christopher's journey to LondonWhen Christopher goes to London, buying a ticket and getting on the train is a huge challenge for him to overcome. The different voices of the Ensemble get across how chaotic Christopher finds the experience."Voice One: Customers seeking access to the car park please use assistance phone opposite, right of the ticket office. Voice Two: Warning CCTV in operation. Voice Three: Great Western. Voice Five: Cold beers and lagers. Voice Two: CAUTION WET FLOOR."Having several different voices stating the sights or sounds that Christopher might be experiencing gives the audience a clear idea of how chaotic and difficult this situation must be for him. Until now he has never gone much further than the end of his own street. Christopher perseveres however and completes his journey.
Christopher taking his A-level examExams can be challenging experiences and have an element of the unknown to them. Christopher admirably rises to the challenge of his maths exam despite being very tired at the time of taking it."I can see the questions but I can’t read the questions because when I look at the words they all seem confused and the wrong way round and mixed up to me."Christopher is so tired he cannot read the questions that are in front of him. Despite this he manages to get himself together and take the exam. This again shows Christopher braving the unknown despite the difficult circumstances he finds himself in.
How Christopher has grownBy the end of the play Christopher has grown and realises that he is capable of facing any challenge by himself. By braving the unknown he has become a better person."Yes. Does that mean I can do anything do you think? Does that mean I can do anything Siobhan? Does that mean I can do anything?" The two look at each other for a while. Lights black. Christopher asks repeatedly if he can do anything. At first he is addressing Siobhan, but the audience are asked the question too. The answer is of course he can. Christopher has shown through facing all of his trials with bravery, he can do whatever he puts his mind to and his future is bright.
Question

How does Christopher brave the unknown during the course of the play?

  • Christopher braves the unknown by questioning the neighbours during his investigation of the murder of Wellington.
  • He braves the unknown by facing the truth about his mother and heading to London by himself.
  • He takes and passes his maths A-level despite being extremely tired and uncertain of his abilities at that point, and despite being only 15.
  • By doing all of these things he achieves a sense of pride and self-confidence. He is ready to face any other challenges the world can throw at him.

Stephens shows that by braving the unknown you can grow and become a stronger person. Christopher is a great inspiration in this.

Move on to Video
next