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April 01, 2006

Curious Part 1

Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 1 -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

In the first half of the book, I really enjoy how the author/Christopher jumps from one topic to another. It keeps you in the book and it doesn’t bore you. You are always wondering what the kid is going to do or say. The detail throughout the chapters allows you to see that the kid is autistic.
“…it happened to me and I find it hard not to imagine things which did not happen to me.”
This quote shows you that he has had rough times whether it be with other kids or just in general. This has to be due to a reason, his autism.
I also think that the way the author shows his autism through his ability to over analyze situations and even jokes. Christopher is very serious about everything and doesn’t take anything easy. An example of this could be seen in the quote on page 12, “I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spend all your time thinking about them.” How very true.
I think that the way the book is set up to allow for Christopher his autism, his intelligence and imagination through the investigation of who killed Wellington. I think that this book is great and allows for you to feel for the kid through all his rough times.

Posted by Denamarie at April 1, 2006 10:47 PM

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I love Christopher's character as well. Understand how he always have to question or challenge everything that he is told. He mode of thinking kind of reminds me of a form of creative pre-writing called free-writng. Just write whatever comes to the mind fist without thinking about it to much. To me, this is the reason (other than the autism) that he can not get too emotionally attached to someone.

Posted by: Kevin "Kelo The Great" Hinton at April 2, 2006 05:38 PM

At the same time, the real author of the book is carefully choosing details that engage us emotionally, and help the story unfold.

The whole book is a great example of "showing" instead of "telling." We know only the details the Christopher chooses to give us, but we *undersand* far more than what Christopher understands.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at April 2, 2006 06:57 PM

Dr. Jerz,

I think that comment about "showing" instead of "telling" really says everything about the story. I find in certain places that Mark Haddan has the opportunity to explain to us what an autistic person would do. Instead he doesn't explain it; Christopher just acts the way he does and we as readers have to distinguish that his actions are a result of his autism.

For example, when he lays down a rolls on the ground and yells when he gets scared. Haddon never comes out and says that it's because he's autistic. It seems perfectly normal to Christopher who is "writing" the book anyway, so he feels no need to explain himself. I really like that point.

Posted by: Andy LoNigro at April 2, 2006 09:30 PM

Yes! I love how he shows instead of telling us what is happening. I think Andy you are correct, there are places that the author could easily tell us what is going on or what Chris is feeling, yet he feels it is necessary to show it to us, to get a mental picture and an emotional feeling to make us feel for the boy.
I think that the way Haddon makes it out to be that the boy is writing the book also helps with details throughout the book and probably why there is more showing than telling.

Posted by: Denamarie Ercolani at April 2, 2006 10:13 PM

There are times in the book when he just dips into these side-barred chapters that don't add much to the story. I understand they are adding to the character, and really showing us the difficulties of having autism, but at the same time I become less interested...

Posted by: Mike Rubino at April 2, 2006 11:22 PM

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