Mark Haddon effectively immerses readers in a new world of experience and insight through the viewpoint of a person with implied autism. He showcases this through the individual’s behavioural problems displayed and the challenges faced whilst raising a child with these conditions. Also, Haddon displays this through the enlightenment of the apprehension towards change that a person with this disorder may exhibit. In the novel ‘The curious incident of the dog in the night-time’ (the curious incident) Christopher, who is a 15-year-old boy with implied autism narrates the story thus giving immersing us into a new world of experience and insight.
Mark Haddon’s the curious incident displays behavioral problems within Christopher which consists of problems with communicating with others around him and having a physical relationship with close loved ones. This is shown in the novel when Christopher’s recounts his interaction with Mrs. Alexander as he states “Then she turned and went into the house… I began to get nervous because I didn’t know what she was doing in the house… I thought she might be ringing the police… so I walked away”. Haddon effectively utilises first person narration and dialogue in this excerpt of the novel to immerse and allow us as an audience to gain understanding and tolerance towards people with implied autism. The author also displays this struggle with the understanding of behaviour through the list narrated by Christopher which states “Not liking being touched, smashing things when I am angry or confused”. Within this, behavioural problems are clearly highlighted as this is what people with Christopher’s condition do in these types of situations. This allows the reader to further understand what individuals with Christopher’s condition go through on a day to day basis.
It is significant that the challenges faced while raising a child with conditions such as implied autism are showcased though Christopher especially when wants to be an astronaut. He wants to work in a vehicle that takes him as far away from earth as humans can possibly go. “And I like really little spaces, so long as there is no one else with me”. The use of simile shows that Christopher’s feels trapped and how fundamentally distanced he feels from the world and the way it works and shows the relationship he would prefer with it: as though it were a computer game. His parents want to touch him to communicate affection, but he does not like to be touched, and when he cannot communicate effectively (as when ‘angry or confused’), he ‘smashes things’ and he says things ‘that other people think are rude’. Christopher explains that his Mother and Father used to argue a lot due to the stress of looking after someone with behavioural problems. Through the challenges faced we gain an insight into Christopher’s world and how perceives others.
Haddon enlightens the apprehension towards change to provide insight of this new world. Christopher explains that he must memorise every physical detail of his environment. In places he has already visited he can simply note the changes that have occurred since his last time there. But if Christopher is in an entirely new place, processing his surroundings can cause his mind to freeze up, like a computer crash. Most people are not like this, and only glance at their surroundings before moving on. In a field in the countryside they might notice some cows. Christopher attributes the fact that he is good at maths and logic to his attention to detail. “And eventually I got to the end of the tunnel and there were some stairs and I went up the stairs and there were still lots of people and I groaned and there was a shop at the top of the stairs and a room with chairs in it but there were too many people in the room with chairs in it, so I walked past it. And there were signs saying Great Western and cold beers and lagers and CAUTION WET FLOOR and your 50p will keep a premature baby alive for 1.8 seconds and transforming travel and Refreshingly Different and IT’S DELICIOUS IT’S CREAMY AND IT’S ONLY £1.30 HOT CHOC DELUXE and 0870 777 7676 and The Lemon Tree and No Smoking and FINE TEAS and there were some little tables with chairs next to them and no one was sitting at one of the tables and it was in a corner and I sat down on one of the chairs next to it and I closed my eyes”. The use of stream of consciousness, shows us how Christopher is thinking, feeling and reacting which is, how Christopher is confused and doesn’t know what to think or how to feel or react. The use of descriptive language is shown as Christopher is telling us exactly what he saw and read with perfect detail, for example when Christopher is talking about the coffee, he’s using descriptive language which helps the reader to picture a better image in their head of the sign. Even though Christopher’s implied autism has gifted him to extraordinary talents such as maths and science. Although within being under equipped, socially can lead Christopher to frequently misunderstand other people, especially his father. As a result, he greatly dislikes social interaction and avoids it when possible.
Mark Haddon immerses us into a new world of experience and insight through the behavioural problems displayed with the challenges faced whilst raising a child with special needs. Haddon displays the enlightenment of the apprehension towards change that a person with implied autism may exhibit.