Christopher discloses that his mother died two years ago. His father told him she had been admitted to the hospital with a heart problem. Christopher wanted to visit her but Father said she needed to be on her own. After a digression in which Christopher reveals more about his logical mind and his desire to go to university to study mathematics or physics or both, he says that Mother died unexpectedly two weeks later, of a heart attack. Christopher was surprised because she was only thirty-eight years old.
Christopher decides he is still going to try to find out who killed Wellington, even though his father has told him to drop the subject. Father has told him to stay out of other people’s business, but Christopher does not understand what this phrase means. He prefers Siobhan’s approach; she tells him exactly what he is not supposed to do.
In the evening he goes to Mrs. Shears’s house. He tells her that he did not kill Wellington and intends to find out who did. She is not interested in discussing the matter with him and closes the door. When he is sure she is not watching, he goes round to the side of the house into the back garden. He sees a tool shed but cannot get into it because it is locked. He sees in the window, however, that there is a fork lying on the bench, and it looks like the fork that killed Wellington. He wonders whether it was Mrs. Shears herself who killed the dog, but on reflection thinks that unlikely. More probably, someone else, using Mrs. Shears’s fork, killed Wellington. Mrs. Shears then comes out of the house and threatens to call the police, so Christopher leaves.
Mrs. Forbes, a teacher at Christopher’s school, tells him his mother has gone to heaven, but Christopher does not believe in heaven. When the Reverend Peters visits the school and gives him an explanation that heaven is “not in our universe” but in “another kind of place altogether,” Christopher does not believe him. He does not think there is anything outside the universe. He prefers scientific evidence for everything and does not believe in any kind of life after death.
Analysis, Chapters 43-61
The author stays within Christopher’s point of view entirely, which means that the reader has the sometimes disorienting experience of seeing the world consistently through Christopher’s eyes. Small remarks or incidents reveal how he thinks and manages to get by, given that his grasp of what might be considered normal emotions, both in himself and others, seems virtually nonexistent. When Father tells him that his mother is in the hospital, for example, Christopher says he will make her a Get Well card, “because that is what you do for people when they are in the hospital” (p. 23). It is as if he has learned the appropriate behavior by listening and observing others, but without fully feeling the reasons behind it. Given his limitations, it is surprising to find him as the narrator of a book, since a narrator normally has to have insights into other people and their actions and motivations. However, Christopher’s lack of understanding does have certain advantages, because he usually avoids speculating about people’s emotions or why they have done something. He just describes what they do or say, leaving it up to the reader to do the interpretation. This also is an effective narrative technique. Obviously, though, Christopher also has limitations as a narrator because he cannot fully evaluate what he is told. He tends to believe people, even if they are lying to him, such as when he believes what his father says about his mother having died (although in fairness to him, there is no way in which he could have known that his father was lying).