Loyola University Maryland

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Common Text

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time Front Cover

Essay Contest for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Sponsored by Dr. Ilona McGuiness, Dean of First Year Students & Academic Services


To the members of the Class of 2017,                   

Want to enter University making a strong impression on your professors, advisors, and classmates?  

Want to win $350 by sharing your insights on Mark Haddon’s the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime?

Enter the Common Text Essay Contest, and you might do both!


  1. At one point In Mark Haddon’s the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime, the protagonist, Christopher, reflects:

                Mr. Jeavons said that I liked maths because it was safe.  He said I liked maths because it meant solving problems, and these problems were difficult and interesting but there was always a straightforward answer at the end.  And what he meant was that maths wasn’t like life because in life there are not straightforward answers in the end.  I know he meant this because it is what he said. 

    This is because Mr. Jeavons doesn’t understand numbers.

    Using this quote as a starting point, write an essay in which you explain the ways in which math helps Christopher interpret and cope with the world around him. 

    In preparing your essay, do not consult outside sources of any kind to help you understand Haddon’s book or to write the essay itself.  It is your unique and interesting discussion of Christopher’s character that matters, not what someone else says.

    Choose a thesis that you can develop in approximately 5 double-spaced, typed pages.

  2. Please submit your essay electronically to Dr. Ilona McGuiness at imcguiness@loyola.edu no later than midnight on August 19, 2013.

  3. Three prizes of $350 will be awarded.

  4. Winners will be announced at the Common Text Convocation at 9:15 a.m., Saturday, August 31, 2013.

  5. Winners and Honorable Mention students will be honored at a luncheon immediately following the small group Common Text discussions on August 31.