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Beyond Pandora

Beyond simple curiosity, this is Thinking Too Much. If you're interested in philosophy and/or wild theories, you've come to the right place.

Location: Australia

Paddling somewhere between a mad scientist and an organisational artist. Indecisive, inconsistent and often incoherent.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Dopey, Dogged

I finished reading 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" today, having bought it only yesterday, and found myself in a rather dazed state.

The story is told from the point of view of Christopher, a 15-year-old autistic boy, and throughout the story I was enthralled by his offbeat voice and perspectives, and especially by his mindset and the nature of his reality. He is surprisingly logical, even when he seems to make the most illogical decisions - like his aversions to yellow and brown.

He has some interesting points on death and spirituality, as well as the way ordinary people's minds work. But his comments on language and meanings are the ones that really stumped me. For instance:
'[A metaphor] is when you descibe something by using a word for something that it isn't. This means that the word metaphor is a metaphor.'
'Mother used to say that it meant Christopher was a nice name because it was a story about being kind and helpful, but I do not want my name to mean a story about being kind and helpful. I want my name to mean me.'

Christopher's voice is so clear and convincing that I felt myself being transported almost to another reality; I couldn't help but feel his panic rising within me at times, overriding my outsider's understanding of his oft-'simple' situation.

And as I finally resurfaced from the pages of the book, I felt as though I was still seeing through Christopher's eyes, his visions still clouding my own reality.

(My brain-fogging cold may have also assisted in creating this effect...)

So congratulations to Mark Haddon, for creating a character that will stick with me long after I forget the book's name.


Blogger Casyn said...

I too found this book reality altering. I was a bit of a mess when I finished it because I think I was having the same problem of trying to redefine my reality. Christopher's thought processes and logic is so clear and overpowering I found it disturbing, which I know it isn't meant to be, but I couldn't help but be disturbed.
Not disturbed by his behaviour, but about how that perception shapes interactions with everyone and everything.
The clarity of that one voice for the duration of the book opens up a new world which I think everyone should be aware of. This book is a great eye-opener and way for there to be more acceptance of mental and learning disabilities.

12:32 am  
Blogger Draic said...

I couldn't agree more. And it's definitely going to be a book I keep coming back to, just to get that sense of confused clarity again.

3:42 pm  

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