Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time



The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an unusual mystery novel written by an unusual narrator. The author of the story is fifteen year old Christopher John Francis from England. What makes him unusual is Christopher suffers from fairly intense autism. Christopher is easily frustrated when he encounters uncomfortable situations. Christopher cannot understand emotions, doesn’t relate well with people, and cannot stand being touched. In some areas though, Christopher is a genius. He knows facts like all of the countries of the world and their capitols, and he excels in the math and science subjects. Christopher wrote this story as an assignment for his special school. His story begins when one night he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled by a pitchfork. Christopher decides he will take it upon himself to find who is responsible. At first he is blamed for the murder by the dogs’ owner, Mrs. Shears, who quickly calls the police. When the police begin questioning Christopher he is unable to understand why and is angered by the policeman touching him. He hits the police officer and is arrested and taken to jail. He is later bailed out by his father who the reader learns is Christopher’s only guardian and loves him very much. Christopher believes his mother died from a heart attack at the hospital which the reader later learns is false. Christopher’s father, wanting to keep him out of trouble, tells him to stop playing his detective games and forget about the murder. Christopher who has a great love for animals doesn’t understand his father's reasoning and decides to continue his detective work in secret and behind his father's back. As he digs deeper into the case he uncovers secrets in his own family. One day while alone at his home he sneaks into his father’s room and found a drawer of letters addressed to him from his mother. The letters have post marked dates after the supposed death of his mother. After reading the letters in which his mother describes her new life he begins to realize that his mother truly isn’t dead. When his father finds him reading the letter he realizes he can no longer lie to Christopher. Christopher’s mother had more of a temper and was less understanding than his father and always had a hard time dealing with Christopher because of his disability. She said she still loved Christopher but she couldn’t take him anymore so she ran off to London with Mr. Shears. Mr. Shears is the former husband of Mrs. Shears and he and Christopher’s mother had an affair behind the backs of Christopher’s father and Mrs. Shears. She said in her letters even though she had left, she still wanted to keep in touch with Christopher. Christopher’s father mad at the betrayal of his mother to their family decided to cut Christopher off from her, telling him she had died. Christopher unable to understand that his mother left him out of choice was mad at his father for lying. Then his father told him that it was he who had killed Wellington out of anger. Christopher unable to understand why his father would kill a dog no longer felt safe in a house with a murderer and liar. That night Christopher ran away. Having no place to go, he decides to journey to England by himself to find his mother. Can Christopher travel all the way to London by himself and find his mother and can his relationship with his mother ever be repaired, read and find out.
1. This story is much different from most literature because it is written in the unique perspective of a person with severe autism. His insight and thinking is very different from most normal people. Do you believe that reading a story like this can teach us how to better deal with people with disabilities and show how their thinking may be very different from our own?
2. Christopher’s mother leaves because she is unable to deal with his disability any longer. Do you think there would ever be a point as a parent that you would not be able to deal with your child any longer and leave him or her?

14 comments:

Hannah L 13-14 said...

I believe that reading a story written in this perspective would teach a person a lot about people with this disability. I think it would definitley allow for a better understanding of how they think, and also how they feel and maybe the reasons why. It would also maybe allow for people to be more patient in dealing with people with these disabilities.

Brad S 11-12 said...

2. I believe that when a child is formed, an intense bond is made. Even when pregnant for the 9 months, a strong protective nature is formed with the child and parents.
When the child is born, there is no sign of autism or mental handicap, and both parents are filled with joy on the new life that they created. For a mother to throw all of those emotions away and pretend like they didn't happen, is a crime.
Everyone is different and no one is perfect. He might have issues with some things, but he clearly means well and is a genius in what he understands. Parents should love their children, no matter how they turn out.

Eric Y 13-14 said...

For question one, I do believe this type of writing could help understand part of an autistic child's personality. Not only woulod it be easier to relate but also easier to understand some of the thoughts.
For two, I do not believe I would leave my child in a case like this. I wold just feel he is a part of myself and therefore a part of my responsibilty to make it through life.

Betsy C 1314 said...

To answer question 2, I don't think that I could ever leave a child. It would obviously be harder than just saying it, but it seems inhuman to leave one of your own. Even with every obstacle potentially in my life, I would hope that I would be strong enough to stay.

Ashley A. 11-12 said...

1) I think that reading this book would help someone to better unstand people with mental disabilities because it would help the reader get a feel for how they think and how they reason events in their life.
2) I don't think I'd ever be able to leave one of my children, no matter the reason. I'd view that as completely giving up on him or her and as a parent, that's not what you're supposed to do.

LeahS11-12 said...

1. I think that by seeing life through another perspective readers are able to improve their own perspective on life and to better understand the life of someone with such a disability. It helps to remind us as we read that even though they may think in different ways, they feel in the same ways that we do.

2. I do not believe that as a mother I could abandon my child because of the difficulty brought about by a condition they were born with. I believe that raising a child with a disability would test parenting skills greatly, but part of me also thinks that the child would be born to those parents because they have what it takes to do so.

Cody H. 11/12 said...

1. I also believe that reading a book from such a perspective could be enlightening for those who don't have much contact with those with disabilities. Most people don't know how to act around those different than us because either we're afraid of them or don't want to offend them. Therefore, I believe that such a novel could be put to good use.

2. I am astounded that a mother could leave her child. I know that, I for one, could never leave a child. Not having a child, I don't personally know the bond formed however if it is similar that of the bond shared between parents and children or siblings, then I know, I could never leave, no matter what the problem.

Cassie M 11-12 said...

1. I'm not sure whether or not a novel could help us understand unless the author is handicapped him/herself. This novel shows the thoughts of one autistic person, while each autistic person thinks completely different. There are many thought/behavioral similarities between one and the next, but there are even more differences. My cousin has severe autism, and his personality and habits change more often than i thought could even be possible. However, novels like this can definitely help us learn how to take care of and handle people with mental disabilities.

Heather M. 13-14 said...

I do believe that a story written in a different perspective than most novels can help people to better understand the author's, in this case a person with autism,struggles and views on things. Since most novels aren't written this way, this novel is something different and can help the reader to get a better picture of what life is really like for a certain person, such as a person with autism just like this novel, due to the fact that the author may see and experience life in a different way than others do.

Mike B 13-14 said...

I agree that a story written in the prespective of a person with a disability like this can better help you understand what they go through. After reading this book I feel that I better understand the disability of autism and the problems btu also the rewards it can cause.

Megan D. 11-12 said...

While I can partially agree with the others that feel this story is able to invoke new ways of viewing people with disabilities, I feel that its effectiveness is limited. The author does not actually have autism and, therefor, we are only reading about an autistic boy who behaves as a "normal" person believes he would. It is therefor not necessarily an accurate gauge of autistic thought processes and behaviors. It does, however, make individuals recall that not everyone thinks in the same way.

As for the mother, I feel that she was a coward. You just cannot bail on a part of your life when it suddenly becomes difficult. That is despicable. It is even more so because she is abandoning her own child who cannot possible fend for himself and would benefit greatly from a stable home environment. What she did was wrong.

Mike B 13-14 said...

I agree and I think it is horrible to even think of leaving your child. The bond between child and parent should be strong enough to overcome all obsticles. I think it is horrible that Christopher's mother left him and agree with his dads decision to cut off his relationship with her.

Richard B. said...

To answer question number two, I feel as though I could never leave my child because I could not deal with him/her. Raising a child takes time, patience, and effort from the parents, and just giving up when things get rough is a very poor effort. Every parent has a maternal/paternal instinct to love their children, whether they physically show that love is up to them, but no matter how badly their children behave, they will always truly love them, and therefore would not want to give them up.

Mrs. Sherwood said...

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