The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
Task: Examine the techniques used by Mark Haddon to add to our understanding of the problems facing the central character, Christopher, due to Asperger’s Syndrome.
The novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” by Mark Haddon is a very unique novel. It is unique in many ways as it’s written through the eyes of someone with Aspegers Syndrome and this condition is explored throughout the novel. The novel is about a fifteen year old boy called Christopher who has Aspegers Syndrome. This condition doesn’t allow him to understand things the way people without this condition would. The novel shoes how Christopher grows up, some of the experiences he goes through and how he copes with and understands life. The themes in the novel are growing up, living with special needs and the most important theme family relationships.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” has a unique style in that it has been written through the eyes of a person with Aspegers. As it has been written through the eyes of a person with Aspegers it is different to most novels and reveals the writers personality. The narrator, Christopher Boone, who has Aspegers can’t understand people and has to include every detail and explain everything he says. The narrative style is written in a logical way with lists and diagrams. Using lists and diagrams in the novel helped us understand Christopher’s condition more. As that is the way he thinks and works things out so he can comprehend them. Also as we see everything form Christopher’s point of view it conveys to us that he sees the world with perfect clarity.
In part of the novel Christopher talks about how he doesn’t like metaphors. Christopher doesn’t like them because they confuse him and he doesn’t understand them. “He was the apple of her eye.” Christopher does not understand this metaphor because he sees it as a lie. He sees it as a lie because an apple in someone’s eye has nothing to do with liking someone. Since they have nothing to do with each other it makes Christopher forget about what they were talking about in the first place. This section adds tour understanding of Christopher’s problems because as he has Aspergers he only sees the world in black or white. Metaphors are a grey area so he can’t process them in his brain.
Throughout the novel Christopher struggles to interact with other characters and finds it difficult to understand them. For example, at the beginning of the story when the policeman is talking to Christopher he finds it difficult to interact with him. “The policeman took hold of my arm and lifted me onto my feet. I didn’t like him touching me like this and this is why I hit him.” Since Christopher has Aspergers he doesn’t like being touched. If someone touches him he feels like he is being attacked and reacts to it. This is why he hit the policeman. Another reason why Christopher finds it difficult to interact with other people is that he can’t understand facial expressions. As he can’t understand facial expressions he finds it hard to know what people are saying and therefore finds it difficult to interact with them.
In part of the novel it explains why Christopher doesn’t ‘get’ jokes. He says “I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them.” he doesn’t understand jokes because as he has Aspergers Syndrome he has to analyse and think everything through in a logical way before understanding what things mean. For example, “His face was drawn by the curtains were real.” Christopher doesn’t understand this joke because after he has thought about it he realises that “drawn” has three different meanings. This confuses Christopher and because of his condition it makes him feel like three people are talking to him at once. This helps us to understand they way he thinks and sees the world too.
Due to the nature of Christopher’s condition he is unaware of the problems he causes for his...
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