In the “Curious Incident of a dog in the nighttime” from “Mark Haddon”, the author is trying to bring us nearer to the life of an autistic child by showing us his realm of thinking and behavior Haddon creates in his book a story that actually stands more in the background. The story talks about the autistic ﬁfteen-year-old narrator, Christopher John Francis Boone, who ﬁnds the dog of a neighbour dead in the garden. He wants to ﬁnd out who killed the dog and wishes to write a book about it.
He is standing in front of many problems to ﬁnd out what really happened, because his father doesn’t like the idea that he is meddling in the business of others. In trying to ﬁnd his book his father took away from him, he ﬁnds letter from his mother, who seemed to be dead at the beginning when in actuality she is still alive. After that, he is convinced his father is a liar and the murderer of the dog, and he runs away to his mom in fear that his own dad wants to kill him. At the end of the book they are showing the difﬁculty to get conﬁdence back from an autistic child.
In the foreground is the behavior of the autistic Christopher Boone. Directly from the beginning we notice that something is different with Christopher Boone. The book never directly talks about autism, but several aspects let us know this.
The capitals in the book are counted as prime number; this language technique lets us directly go in the mind of Christopher Boone. His thinking is that prime numbers are acting like life: logical, but impossible to fully comprehend. This missing of comprehension of human being is lined throughout the whole book, for example that he has difﬁculty determining people’s emotions from their facial expressions, but he can name each country in the world, their capitals and every prime number up to 7057. Christopher recognizes his social limitations, and he focuses instead on the extraordinary intelligence he displays in other regards.
His complex brain is shown in the book with mathematical forms and information about space and physics. Christopher Boone is the only one in his class who is making the A-level in mathematics, with the wish to ﬁnish it in physics too and when he is adult he would like to be an astronaut. These inputs, whether we understand them or not, are helping the reader to get more and more into the way of thinking of this autistic child. We are reading the entire book through the eyes of Christopher, the narrator, showing us just what he is seeing and feeling. This technique is extremely important for the story and the message of the book. Christopher’s poor social skills are shown from the beginning to the end of the Book. He quickly feels overwhelmed and his social deﬁcits lead to misunderstandings and conﬂicts.
He doesn’t let people touch him, when an ofﬁcer tries to touch him he assaults him and has to go to the jail. But even during that incident, he enjoyed the fact that his cell has perfect dimensions and he feels secure. Christopher’s obsession with the physical details of his surroundings, particularly aspects of color, number, and time…serves as a great asset to him in his investigation. When his father arrives, even he is allowed to touch him, other than with his hands spread like a fan. The truth is one of the most important things for him as an autistic child, because his logical brain may explode with a lie because there are going to be a million new possibilities. This difﬁculty with an autistic child is also shown in the role of the parents.
His mother, who is thought to be dead at the beginning, was running away because she couldn’t handle the relation with her own child. The father as well, who was always calmer and had a better relation with his child, is coming to a point of desperation. Christopher wants to ﬁnd out who killed the dog, the investigation into which he tries to stop because of his own guilt. However, his child is special and he doesn’t want to hear what his dad is saying and changing the words in his mouth. The dad also is unable to be honest with his child, and invents the story of the dead mother to protect him.
Christopher has a strong desire for order, and he works to remove any sense of disorder from his life. For instance, his system for determining how good the day will be, despite its apparent illogicalness, provides him with a sense of control over the ambiguities and uncertainties he encounters every day. The difﬁculty of a normal day with an autistic child is shown well at the beginning. The farther we go into the book; it loses a bit of consequence. The author is giving us several different aspects of an autistic child. What makes the story so special is that at the end Christopher is over breaking his fears in running away from his father because he killed the dog and lied to him.
Another problem that is shown in the book is the difﬁculty in creating friendships. Christopher is going to a special school; he’s calling the other children stupid and dumb because nobody has his level of logical thinking. He has no friends, the only person he is talking with and trusting is Siobhan. At the beginning we don’t know who this person is, which lets us think he has a friend in his age that he can communicate with. At the end we realize it is his teacher and it is really interesting to see the methods and the ideas that the teacher is giving or training with Christopher.
The book tries to show the world what is going on in a child with autism. Of course, it is not a guide on how to handle autistic children, it is just a tale intended to help non-autistic people to understand better the thinking of this child.
The author himself worked in preparation for his book with autistic children. In my opinion the book is really well structured and successfully brings the message that it should bring. Myself as a total beginner in this arena of thinking, now know more about this illness and about the rules and regulations that thinking in the head of such a child seem to follow.
The difﬁculties surrounding this illness are really well represented in the role of the parents. We are just seeing the thoughts of him and his feelings, but the story is really good at creating just enough clues to see more between the lines. The mother who is running away because of her failure to cope raising her own child, the dad who is trying to handle this struggle all alone and who is just able to do that by constantly lying to his own child. The book was published in two versions, one for children and once for adults. In my opinion, the title and the story of the book seems more for children than for adults. However, when you take a look at the message and the background of this boy, and let the story be a side issue, it is a really sensible and informative book about the life of a child with special issues. It seems that the end is a just a little bit thin and it seems that the author was not that careful enough at wrapping up the ending with the fears and consequences of autism.
The book was criticized with the idea that the author is giving inaccurate descriptions about a child with autism, although the novel never mentions
autism. Seeing as Christopher displays several of the symptoms that are included in this illness, they take the logical conclusion.
I would recommend this book to everybody who wants to read a funny, informative and lovely story about a boy with special needs. The logical thinking presented which also teach a little bit about math and physics is what makes this ﬁctional book really interesting.
Courtney from Study Moose
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