June 1, 2015
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”
A Very Unusual Character in a Very Unusual World
Many adolescents have difficulty dealing with society. One of the few examples of teenagers struggling to be independent is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Throughout the novel, Christopher endures many situations that made him grow as a person. In my opinion, Mark Haddon’s novel is a significant piece of literature for all generations because it allows people to relate or view life in a different perspective as Christopher did with his difficulty reacting to strangers and dealing with change and his autism. In his journey, he comes across misleading and untrusting individuals who play a bad role in his confidence. Autism is Christopher’s major struggle in the novel; this influences his judgment and his overall reaction to society.
Autism is often known as a mental condition that causes difficulty in forming relationships and communicating with others. In Christopher’s case, he is extremely intellectual and excels in logical subjects, such as Math, Science, and English. J. Stephan-Cole once said, “He is smart and very logical though obsessive about order, which serves in part to protect him from the messy emotionalism of other people. Logic, however, does not prevent bad choices that can be dangerous and/or out of sync with the way the rest of the world operates”. Cole explains how intelligent Christopher is, however he still has difficulty making good judgments. Christopher’s autism takes a great toll in his daily life. Although he is very clever, his decision making skills often leads him into problems. His decision to leave home and live with his mother in London was one of the many dangerous situations. When he was stopped by the policeman, he was unable to communicate with the authorities because of his autism. Christopher also has difficulty processing emotions.
It can be argued that; though Christopher is born with a disability, it is his family and community that really disadvantage him. Although many people have doubted the accuracy of this statement, a thorough inspection reveals that it is, in fact, correct. This can be shown by examining the way he is treated by the general public, his school community and even his own family. As a result, Christopher is unable to develop his full potential and becoming as useful an asset to the population as he might have been, creating a vicious cycle.
Christopher’s goal in the novel resembles that of many teenage protagonists in coming-of-age stories to become independent and find his role in the world. Because of his condition, Christopher cannot be as independent as he would like. Since he has trouble understanding other people, dealing with new environments, and making decisions when confronted with an overload of new information, for instance, he has difficulty going places by himself. When he feels frightened or overwhelmed, he has a tendency to essentially shut down, curling himself into a ball and trying to block out the world around him. Christopher, however, still has the typical teenage desire to do what he wants and take care of himself without anyone else telling him what to do. As a result, we see him rebelling against his father in the novel by lying and disobeying his father’s orders. We also see this desire for independence in Christopher’s dream of being one of the few people left on Earth, in which no authority figures are present, and in his planning for college, where he wants to live by himself. Also, his struggle to become independent primarily involves him gaining the self-confidence needed to do things on his own and moving beyond his very rigidly defined comfort zone. Solving Wellington’s murder figures into his efforts to be independent in that it forces Christopher to speak with a number of people he doesn’t know, which he finds uncomfortable, and it gives him confidence in