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Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time

1133 words - 5 pages

Society has labelled mothers with autistic or schizophrenic children as a ‘refrigerator mother’ or a ‘refrigerator parent’. In ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” written by Mark Haddon, Christopher’s mother, can easily fall into the ‘refrigerator mother’ stereotype because she is not able to cope with the responsibility of having a son with Asperger syndrome. Haddon also focuses on the every day struggles that people with Asperger’s or Autism face. However, disabilities come in many forms, and are partly genetic, they can also have a significant environmental aspect like mother care.
Asperger’s and Autism are hardly ever portrayed correctly in literature, especially in novels. The author guides his novel into a direction that, ultimately, must be enjoyable and of interest to the reader. This makes it common for the author to deviate from what is ‘real’ or scientifically and psychologically correct. Christopher is described to be a young, very bright 15-year-old boy, who is utterly confused by how he should act in social interactions with other people in his community and his family. He feels content when he does math problems, especially if they include prime numbers. When Christopher says: “Prime number are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spend all your time thinking about them.” (Haddon, 12) In some ways Christopher sees himself as a prime number. He has grown up to believe that he is different that the others. Prime numbers don’t mix, they are singular, and cannot be factored. A similar understanding has developed with the view on autism. Haddon’s portrayal of Asperger’s Christopher is at times very detailed, for example the way Christopher has difficulties in social interactions, and does not like to be touched, and how Christopher feels more comfortable around animals than people.
Research has found that “parental care has a broad impact on mental health, including the risk of psychopathology. Studies in the rat directly link the mental care environment to long-term effects on neural systems that regulate stress, emotional function, learning and memory as well as neuroplasticity.” (McGowan, et al., 1). Haddon’s novel shows readers, by following along the journey of a young boy with autism of finding out the truth of his ‘deceased’ mother. The reader gets to see the part of the story of a suppressed, cold yet traditional mother. The fact that the mother is not present throughout most of the novel, allows the reader to sympathize, even admire the father for his ability to deal with Christopher’s autism all by himself. He sets aside his own demands in order for him to fully take care of Christopher. Reading this, and comparing the father to the mother, the reader sees the contrast between both parents. The mother was blamed for leaving them, because she was not able to be fully there for her son....

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