Representation Of Asperger’s Syndrome In The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime
Many people with Asperger’s Syndrome have trouble socializing and connecting with other people. Forming meaningful relationships is also a challenge. One of the main reasons why is because they have a hard time making eye contact and holding conversations. As well as this, they can have sensory problems where they are very sensitive to others touching them or coming in close proximity. However, most people with Asperger’s are extremely intelligent. Christopher, the main character of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, was diagnosed with Aspergers and has to overcome the struggles of living with Autism. He also has many of the social, emotional, and physical traits that come along with this diagnosis. He struggles to talk to strangers and make eye contact, and can’t be touched or he will drop to the ground and starts crying. However, a major strength is that Christopher is extremely intelligent and performs at a superior level in his math class. In the novel, Christopher shows an accurate representation of Asperger’s Syndrome because he demonstrates most all of the characteristics.
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime by Mark Haddon is an accurate representation of Asperger’s Syndrome because Christopher has many of actual characteristics which are seen in people with Asperger’s. People with Aspergers have difficulty in social situations, and this also applies to Christopher. As a result, he doesn’t like crowded or loud spaces.
For example, when Christopher’s pet rat Toby had gotten onto the train tracks and Christopher jumped down to find Toby, and a man spotted Christopher. Christopher says, “And then the man with the diamond pattern on his socks grabbed hold of me and pulled me and I screamed, but he kept pulling and he pulled me up onto the concrete and we fell over and I carried on screaming because he had my shoulder” (183). In this quote, Christopher is showing how bad he is in physical and social interactions because he is physically being touched. Normally a person without Asperger’s wouldn’t be as sensitive to another person touching them. Another example of when Christopher didn’t like crowded spaces is on the train. “There were lots of people on the train, and I didn’t like that because I don’t like lots of people I don’t know and I detest it even more if I am stuck in a room with lots of people I don’t know and a train is like a room and you can’t get out of it when it’s moving” (158).This shows how fearful and uncomfortable Christopher feels when he is around many strangers, especially in close proximity.Just like almost all people who struggle with Asperger’s Syndrome, Chrisopher is uncomfortable with congested, loud areas. Many people with Asperger’s Syndrome like Christopher often have a higher intelligence but lack emotional skills; this is all true for Christopher in the book.
Throughout the book it is clear how intelligent Christopher is. There were many instances when it is obvious how quickly he could memorize things as well as recall any fact. However, there are numerous times when Christopher struggles to emotionally connect and react to other people. One day Christopher’s dad came home from work. Christopher says, “At 5:48 pm my father came home. He says, howdy partner, which is a joke he does. I said, “Hello” (80). This shows how intelligent he is, to know the exact minute that his dad arrived home, but also his answer of hello shows he cannot relate emotionally to other people. Their was another interaction, when Christopher got off the train when he is trying to find his way and asked the man at the store for directions. “He picked up the little book and handed it to me and said $2.95. Are you going to buy it or not? And I said, I don’t know” (187). This shows how Christopher can be very smart but lacks emotional skills because he didn’t understand that the man is trying to sell him a map. Almost every conversation Christopher has, he is able to show how smart he is but the lack of social skills is always present. Due to Christopher’s lack of socialization skills, he struggles a great deal with formulating relationships. People with Asperger’s often like their world to be completely planned and organized, just like Christopher.
Throughout the book, Christopher shows how he has a routine and a plan for everything he does and if something doesn’t happen as predicted he gets really upset. “3:30 p.m. catch school bus home; 3:49 p.m. Get off school bus at home; 3:50p.m. have juice and snack; 3:55 p.m. Give Toby food and water; 4:00p.m. Take Toby out of his cage; 4:18p.m. put Toby in his cage; 4:20p.m. Watch television or video; 5:00p.m. Read a book; 6:00p.m. Have tea; 6:30p.m. Watch television or a video; 7:00p.m. Do maths practice; 8:00p.m. Have a bath; 8:15p.m. Get changed into pajamas; 8:20p.m. Play computer games; 9:00p.m. Watch television or a video; 9:20 Have juice and a snack; 9:30 go to bed” (156). By listing all of this by the minute this is showing how structured and planned he likes to be. Another example of how structured and routine-oriented Christopher is when he is getting his food ready. “I opened up my special food box. Inside was the Milkybar and two licorice laces and three clementines and a pink wafer biscuit and my red food coloring. I didn’t feel hungry but I knew that I should eat something because if you don’t eat something you can get cold, so I ate two clementines and the Milkybar. ” (124). The food Christopher had packed is extremely specific. Also, when most people aren’t hungry they don’t eat. However, because of Chistophers schedule he ate the food anyway so it didn’t mess anything up. Overall, Christopher’s routine and schedule are very specific and concise. If things don’t go according to plan, he will get very flustered and upset. This again is another instance where Christopher struggles just like most people with Asperger’s Syndrome.
As it is apparent from the arguments provided, Christopher has a challenging time coping with being different than others. His main hardships are forming meaningful relationships and physical contact. Christopher has a brilliant mind, but isn’t able to see things from someone else’s perspective. Throughout the book he struggles with all of the same things that people with Asperger’s do.
Even though many people hate being touched, Christopher can’t stand it at all. For example, when he is in the elevator another person’s jacket scraped against his knee. While most people wouldn’t care because it is in such a compact space Christopher would lay on the ground and start screaming to help cope with what just happened.
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