Dissimilarity In The Curious Incident

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Mark Haddon’s novel, the curious incident of the dog in the night-time, is fraught with complicated oppositions. Christopher’s brilliance in mathematics and eidetic memory makes him a prodigy, but his inability to decipher emotions and interact renders him socially incompetent and autistic. Although he is aware of the differences that he and other people have, he refutes the idea that his difference makes him less capable than anyone else, because everyone has “special needs.” By focusing in on selected passages, I will examine the binary between normal and abnormal, disabled and non-disabled, which, for Christopher, holds a degree of similarity rather than dissimilarity. Therefore, while it may seem that the curious incident of the dog in…show more content…
Rather than merely being about Christopher, the novel takes an authoritative stance and is told through Christopher’s perspective. He affirms, that he “find[s] people confusing…people do a lot of talking without using words” (Haddon 14). Christopher does not understand people’s countenance and he has to rely on pictorial aids to help guide him. Also, when describing certain math problems, such as the Monty Hall problem, he uses pictures to show the solution. Visual aid often serves as an effective technique when teaching, and seeing is said to be the dominant sense where most learning comes from. By being able to manipulate language, which is often expressed through facial expression, so that he can understand, there is no clear distinction between what is normal and abnormal, because he has achieved the ability to function individualistically throughout his environment. Even Christopher’s connection between his human existence and non-human existence is in fact odd, in which the normality of his actions are questioned, but his reasons make such questions seem trivial. When discussing his frustration with facial…show more content…
It is also expressed in his attempt at comparing his abilities to the people around him, trying to place himself within the “fixed” spectrum of what society around him sees as “normal.” Even though Christopher goes to a special education school, he asserts, “All the children at my school are stupid… I’m meant to say that they have learning difficulties or that they have special needs. But that is stupid because everyone has learning difficulties” (43). In this passage, Christopher compares his limitations to that of having diet restrictions or having to wear glasses like Siobhan. If someone is struggling to understand a foreign language such as “French” then they have, to some extent, a learning difficulty. It is not the person, but rather the needs of a particular person that defines the word disabled itself. But, the way in which Christopher breaks down the language, he disputes the antithesis between a normal person and a “special” person. By doing this, he undermines the credibility of the words themselves, which society uses to describe people of Christopher’s nature. Just like the word “need” itself, being both a noun and a verb, emphasizes the ever so difficult way to actually define what it means to have special needs versus what it means to simply be special needs. But then again, what exactly is the difference? It is never

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