The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is a novel written by Mark Haddon. It is a murder mystery novel narrated by the main character 15 year old Christopher Boone. The plot follows Christopher’s journey of finding out who killed his neighbor’s poodle, Wellington. Although Christopher is never directly labelled, he has “Asperger Syndrome which is a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. Due to having Asperger Syndrome, Christopher has challenges in his everyday life such as taking the bus to school and talking to his neighbours.
Christopher has difficulty with his communication skills, social interaction, being touched, and behavioural issues, which according to Winter are defining features of Asperger Syndrome. Christopher is a literal person who uses his extremely logical thinking and mathematical brilliance to cope with the chaos and unpredictability of everyday life. Christopher’s use of logic and math demonstrates that people with Asperger’s can function within society. Christopher is a unique and intelligent boy, but there are many things in his life that he does not comprehend.
In chapter 3, Christopher describes how he knows all the countries in the world along with their capitals, and every prime number up to 7057 but cannot decipher facial expressions (2) or metaphors, which he sees as lies (15).
... later did such ships really come into their own. In1492 Christopher Columbus sailed in such a ship to America. All the ... of discovery by Europeans were impossible. The famous voyages of Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and others of their time were ... rudder brought great changes to the world. The voyages of Christopher Columbus may have never occurred if the Chinese had not ...
In chapter 19 Christopher compares prime numbers to life, saying that “prime numbers and life are logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them” (12).
This is a significant aspect of the approach Christopher takes to understand life through mathematics and logic.
Christopher lacks the ability to empathize or understand other’s emotions. This is evident when Ed Boone, Christopher’s father, reveals that he lied about Christopher’s mother’s death (119).
Christopher does not understand the emotional turmoil that his father is going through, but concentrates on the fact that his father has lied to him and he cannot be trusted any longer. To cope with this overwhelming news, Christopher “doubles 2’s in his head until he reached 33554432” (120).
To make matters worse, Ed Boone tells Christopher that he was the one who killed Wellington (120).
This sends Christopher into a downward spiral leading him to believe that “if Father can kill Wellington, he can kill me” (122).
Christopher’s had been left by his wife for another man and then dumped by his new girlfriend which had left Christopher’s father in a belligerent state. Both of these misfortunes were caused because of Christopher’s disabilities. Christopher’s father loves him, and would never intentionally physically harm him. It is heart-breaking both to Ed Boone, and to the reader that the conclusion that Christopher comes up with is delusional.
Christopher’s inability to communicate and empathize with others leads to major problems with his social skills. Unlike most people, Christopher does not hristopher has very erratic behaviour in most social situations. This is most likely caused by his lack of social abilities. Christopher’s behaviour greatly affects his mother’s well-being which eventually led to her abandonment of their family. One of the letters Christopher found in his father’s closet, written by his mother describes the extent of his behaviour very well.
In this letter Judy Boone, Christopher’s mother states that she is “not a good mother” and that “she is not patient enough for him” (106).
... the increase in crime and anti-social behaviour. Other behaviour that would have been seen as anti-social in the past has also ... main function of laying down a code of behaviour which regulates personal and social life. Though unlike the functionalist perspective they ... s main function is provide a code of behaviour which regulates personal and social life. Religious ritual is also identified by ...
She recalls a time in which the two of them went Christmas shopping and Christopher’s behaviour was irrational. Christopher had become frightened by all the people in the busy store and had decided to crouch down and cover his ears. To cope he also started screaming which embarrassed his mother greatly. (107).
Another example of Christopher’s erratic behaviour was on the train ride to London. He was afraid of the public and the policeman who was trying to bring him back to his Father.
He coped with the hectic train ride by crouching in the shelves opposite the bathroom and solving quadratic equations in his head (163).
To a person without Asperger Syndrome, this is a very irrational and senseless thing to do, but for Christopher it is completely logical. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is a very thought-provoking novel. It places the readers inside of Christopher’s mind which most likely functions very differently than theirs. Christopher has great difficulty with communicating due to the fact that he cannot understand facial expressions and social queues.
He does not understand social interaction and finds it frightening and unnecessary. His behaviour is not like other children’s, as he does not see the world around him like others do. Although Christopher is different from most children, he is also very similar in some aspects. Like most young people, Christopher has dreams and aspirations. His dream is to go to university where he will study mathematics and live on his own, and eventually get married (Haddon 45).
This novel shows the reader a minuscule insight on youth with developmental disorders, Christopher’s challenges and his outstanding, yet bizarre methods of coping.