The secondary characters in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time serve to complement the primary characters. Although these characters are not at the forefront of the narrative, they play important roles in shaping the world in which the central narrative unfolds.
They add layers of complexity and richness to the storyline, providing insights into the social and family dynamics in the play. As we explore these characters, we’ll uncover:
Siobhan is Christopher’s teacher, and she is shown to be very caring and understanding. She guides his learning in a gentle and patient manner. Unlike other characters, she never becomes frustrated with his misunderstandings or long-winded explanations. She is also able to calm him, as shown when she helps him regain his composure during the maths exam.
Christopher has total trust in her, even asking to live with her at the end. However, she firmly states that this can’t happen “because I’m not your mother . . . That’s very important.” This trust that he has in her means that she is allowed to read his book. Therefore, her character serves as a device to voice Christopher’s thoughts and experiences throughout the play.
Siobhan is also important to Christopher’s character arc because she helps him to better understand the world. She also encourages him to try new experiences, such as turning his book into a play, which he eventually finds the confidence to do.
The least sympathetic character in the play, Roger, often comes off as selfish, short-tempered and argumentative. Judy falls in love with him, and their relationship is a temporary relief from her struggles at home. However, when we first encounter them in London, they are arguing over something Roger said that made Judy “look like a complete idiot”. This suggests to the audience that the relationship has not turned out as well as she hoped.
This is further enforced by their arguments over what to do with Christopher, and Roger’s complaint that their “flat is hardly big enough for two people, let alone three”.
His resentment of Christopher blows up in a drunken rage as he says aggressively:
“You think you’re so clever, don’t you? Don’t you ever, ever think about other people for one second, eh?”Roger
Shockingly, although Christopher doesn’t like being touched, Roger “grabs” him angrily, making Christopher very distressed. This is the final straw for Judy, and she leaves Roger immediately after this.
Christopher’s neighbour, Mrs Alexander, takes an interest in him and tries to become friends by offering snacks. However, due to his challenges with social interactions, Christopher becomes fearful that she might call the police to arrest him, causing him to run away from her.
She is used as a narrative device to reveal information to Christopher and the audience. For example, she informs him about the affair between his mother and Roger. Also, her surprise when Christopher mentions his mother’s death gives the first hint that Judy might not actually be dead.