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In Mark Haddon’s novel ‘The curious incident of the dog in the night-time’ the protagonist, a 15-year-old boy named Christopher Boone talks primarily about his quest to uncover the truth about the murder of a dog. This is told through the unique perspective of Christopher who lives in a small English town of Swindon and deals with the trials and triumphs of living with Asperger’s autism spectrum disorder. The novel is told through the firsthand narration of Christopher, as Haddon explores his understanding of Asperger’s syndrome.
Through doing so Haddon gives insight into life with Asperger’s and creates a stimulating unique perspective of the world where his use of the protagonist is unlike any other and creates a unique view of the world. Within this extract, Haddon explores Christopher’s social disorder, the vital importance of trust and his logical views on the world. In this way Haddon, to a large extent is able to craft an effective and unique piece of fiction, that enables the audience to understand and emphasize with Christopher’s perspective to eliminate some of the social stigmas that surround Asperger’s.
The extract and the novel as a whole highlight the importance of trust to Christopher, painting the unique voice of Christopher in the novel. Due to Christopher’s Asperger’s syndrome, he is unable to lie this fact makes it increasingly hard to trust other people as he cannot understand lies as they are illogical. Haddon foreshadows this with the use of emotive language in the quote “This is another reason why I don’t like proper novels, because they are lies about things which didn’t happen, and they make me feel shaky and scared.
And this is why everything I have written here is true.” (p. 25). The mention of his emotions clearly states how he feels about lies. When Christopher does trust someone, it is extremely important to him that this trust is kept, if it is broken, he will find it almost impossible to forgive the person. This unique perspective on trust is the reason Christopher is so dramatically affected by his father lying about his mother’s death and killing the dog. Haddon reflects the struggles of growing up within Christopher’s plan to run away from home and live with his mother.
Christopher’s childish nature is juxtaposed with his logical thinking within this scene as Christopher has an immense reaction to his father’s lies but is able to logically discern the best decision concerning where he is going to go and live. Haddon utilizes an Imperative sentence in the dad’s response to Christopher finding out the truth in the quote “You have to learn to trust me … And I don’t care how long it takes…” thus, this reveals the damage his lies caused to his relationship with Christopher, Christopher’s father reveals his determination to win back Christopher’s trust despite the realities of life. Christopher’s father wants to heal their shattered relationship in any way he can. As a result, trust is a constant theme that outlines the unique nature of Christopher’s character and how he is affected by Asperger’s.
Furthermore, Chris’s difficulty with communication with the “normal” people of society presents some of the broader social problems that Chris experiences on an everyday basis. As a logic-driven character, he is emotionally simplistic. As a result, he is unable to adequately comprehend and therefore respond appropriately to idiomatic expressions such as “you’ve pulled my leg” and also metaphors because they are not, what Chris perceives, to be the truth and that “they are lying”. As is quite common to those on the Autism Spectrum, Christopher does not have well developed emotional intelligence and his social interactions are limited. He also cannot relate to others with empathy or sympathy and finds the intricacies of a social world highly confusing and illogical at times “I thought this might be another rhetorical question, but I wasn’t sure. I found it hard to work out what to say because I was starting to get scared and confused.” Haddon utilizes emotive language to emphasis on Christopher’s response to a simple question. The emotions of fear and confusion reinforce his unique personality and social disorder. In this quote, the reader gains direct insight into the way Christopher’s mind works. Christopher’s difficulty imagining what other people mean by statements with multiple interpretations leads to social misunderstandings throughout the book. Hence his social disorder is a large factor that communicates his unique voice.
Likewise, Christopher has a unique logical perspective, where he best understands situations that he can explain logically rather than emotionally. This trait within the protagonist adheres to his unique perspective as a boy with Asperger’s. He tries to be like the detective Sherlock Holmes because Holmes approaches mysteries from a logical perspective and seeks an explainable truth. Furthermore, Holmes doesn’t believe in supernatural explanations for odd happenings. Like Holmes, Christopher thinks that all odd happenings can be illuminated through the use of logic, and Christopher takes this approach in his investigation of Wellington’s death. This present in the quote” quoting himself here to another astutely logical thinker, Sherlock Holmes, Christopher is able to disconnect himself from the world and enter his own mental space. Like Holmes, he disconnects in order to think clearly and without distraction. Unlike Holmes (as written by Doyle, at any rate), Christopher also acknowledges that the emotional distance is protection from hurt.
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