Christopher in The Curious Incident and Autistic Behavior Essay

Pages: 4 (1321 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: English Literature

Ed, Christopher's father, is clearly very frustrated with his current situation. One of the reasons he is so desperate for Christopher to take his A-levels is because he finds his current professional and personal life so limiting. He is angry at Mrs. Shears because she is his former mistress and the fact that his wife has left him for Mr. Shears. He does not understand his son's obsession with dogs and has poor coping skills to deal with his son's limitations. "All I could think was she cared more about this bloody dog than you are me" he says to Christopher (Haddon 88). Yet while his father's actions seem horrifying, particularly in light of his son's obsession with dogs, it is worth noting that to the outside world, Christopher often engages in apparently incomprehensible actions, such as hitting a policeman. To some extent, the father's violence is a reflection of his emotional and irrational nature, such as the fact he hid his ex-wife's letters from Christopher for many years which also does seem to upset Christopher, since Christopher himself is incapable of telling lies or dissembling. The dog is also said to have been very unpredictable and this lashing out at the dog may thus have been subliminal anger on the father's part at both Mrs. Shears and Christopher. However, Ed does care for his son and act as an advocate for him -- without his father's prompting, Christopher would never have taken his A-levels. Christopher is right in the sense that his father's behavior is often unpredictable but his conclusion that "Father had murdered Wellington. That means he could murder me" shows his childlike view of the world (Haddon 88). Although people with autism are often said to be lacking in emotions, in Christopher's case, he is capable of very clear, very violent emotions at times but they are about things that people do not really care about (like cars and the color yellow) or they do not show consideration for the feelings and needs of others, as is the case with his reaction to his father's killing of the dog. Because his father has done only one bad thing and he views dogs as good, Christopher sees him as a bad person, despite all his father has done for him in the past. He is unable to perceive shades and nuances of emotion. (Although he may have picked up on some of his father's subliminal anger at himself as well as Mrs. Shears).

In the end, Christopher does not come to a profound emotional revelation but his willingness to ferret out the truth does create a more stable family situation for himself, however unintentionally. At the end of the novel, he is once again reunited with both parents and this takes some of the strain of caregiving off of his father. He becomes more capable of coping with change given that he can live with both of his parents at different times. He has plans and hopes for the future in the form of becoming a successful scientist. He also acquires a dog he loves. Christopher does forgive his father although he does not really seem to understand that people are capable of more nuanced emotions than he initially believed. But the reader does become more compassionate, even if Christopher does not. Christopher demands that life and people are predictable all of the time, thus he logically deduces because his father committed a murder of a dog, that action represents his father's character. Yet it is no more representative of Ed as a human being than some of Christopher's own violent actions. The book ultimately encourages a more compassionate understanding of people with special needs as well as provides insight into the thinking processes of someone with these cognitive issues.

Works Cited

Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Christopher in The Curious Incident and Autistic Behavior.  (2016, October 30).  Retrieved September 23, 2020, from

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"Christopher in The Curious Incident and Autistic Behavior."  30 October 2016.  Web.  23 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Christopher in The Curious Incident and Autistic Behavior."  October 30, 2016.  Accessed September 23, 2020.