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Why Does Haddin Write the Way He Does?

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The novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”, composed by Mark Haddon acquires various elements that portray the narrative as distinct. Haddon uses an array of literary and visual techniques to depict both the novel and narrator’s unique qualities. The narrator of the text is a 15 year old Autistic boy, Christopher Boone. It is shown throughout the novel Christopher’s distinctive perception of the world and the issues he deals with. The first person narration of this novel gives the responder an opportunity to explore the world through the eyes of an adolescent with Asperger’s Syndrome as well as an insight to the working of his mind.

Without the natural ability to relate and communicate in society, individuals that are considered different often find it difficult to build social relationships. Christopher’s condition causes him to see    the world in an uncommon way and the first person narration of the novel allows the reader to share Christopher’s unique perspective. Christopher experiences difficulty understanding the simple things in life, for example, reading facial expressions. As a logic driven character he is emotionally simplistic. Due to his inability to comprehend emotions, Christopher struggles connecting to others on an emotional level. In the novel, Haddon elucidates through visual representations how Christopher is unable to distinguish a person’s feelings by examining their expressions. Haddon makes uses of polysyndeton, “…Siobhan to draw lots of these faces and write down what they mean and I took it out when I didn’t understand what someone was saying”, which serves as an ironic element as the visual diagrams instead of assisting Christopher in distinguishing expressions, confuse him further. The use of visuals highlights the key communication barrier between Christopher and others.  Christopher relies heavily on order and logic to understand and navigate the world. The use of logic puzzles, math problems and maps symbolize to Christopher the part of the world that is ordered and logical. Hence, Haddon uses these elements as tools to organise Christopher’s thinking. These elements are seen continually throughout the novel at various stages, but appear most often when Christopher encounters new information which he has not fully processed. “…too many questions…sometimes the slicer is not working fast enough but the bread keeps coming out and there is blockage”, Haddon metaphorically compares Christopher’s mind to a bread slicer, as a result he is unable to adequately comprehend and therefore respond appropriately to the situation.

Christopher has an urgent need to see the world as orderly as he can as he does not have tolerance for disorder. Christopher’s dislike for change is extreme, he is unable to handle it at all. He obsesses over schedules, for instance “I like timetables because I like to know when everything is going to happen”, Christopher’s statement portrays his necessity for order and the comfort he feels when things remain the same. Each person deals with difficulty in their own way. Christopher too has a very distinct way of coping. He utilizes his obsessions to deal with things he is uncomfortable around. Christopher’s coping methodologies include things like solving math’s problem and logical puzzles to get himself to ignore the chaos he feels and find some stability in the situation. Christopher is obsessed with solving puzzles, so when he finds Wellington, the dogs’ corpse, he feels an urgent need to solve the mystery of ‘who killed Wellington’ as it appears to him as a puzzle. “Prime numbers are what is left when you take all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules even if you spent all your time thinking about them”, the simile demonstrates a simple comparison that allows Christopher to express his feelings of the world and others in a unique way, one which creates a feeling of empathy within the responder as they uncover the truth to his disability. Haddon through Christopher’s unique coping methodologies and distinct perspective, enhances the reader’s understanding of the distinctive qualities of the novel.

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