First and foremost can we see the search for order and stability as one of the themes in the novel. For me personally is also order and stability important, but perhaps not to what extent Christopher has it. For Christopher, the desire for order and stability is actually a necessity of living. Since he suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, he needs an ordered and stable life to be happy and safe.
I also found some minor themes in the novel, such as ways stability can be found, especially as relevant to Christopher`s life. First, there is the stability of family, something which seems important. Secondly he seems to be in need of special themes, such as math and science to have something to fill his daily life with.
Activity 2: Reader as Analyst
How is the novel structured?
To begin with it seems like the structure of the plot is based on order, like a disruption of the order, and a reestablishment of a new kind of order. The novel starts with the death of Wellington, which Christopher tries to solve. There is also a second mystery that is in the process of being solved, but Christopher does not realize it immediately. When he finally does, the seemingly simple problem of a dog's death takes on a new dimension. When we get to the middle of the novel, the mystery seems to get sorted out.
Whose point of view are we invited to share? / How do we learn about the various characters, including the narrator?
We are invited to share the point of view of an autistic teenager, which gives the reader better knowledge of how Christopher sees things in the world. There is no doubt that a teenager as Christopher encounters many challenges in life, and by this point of view, we mostly get the opportunity to face them all. There are many examples in the book where Christopher reacts negative on being surprised or confused. One of them are page 3, this notes his inability to interpret emotions.
I think a book being written in first person allows the reader to understand the protagonist better and to empathize on deeper level. Without this option the text wouldn`t be realistic at all, and the lack of understanding attitudes, plus his behavioural problems could be confusing. For my understanding of the novel did the illustrations and graphics help, they was very effective. Since Christopher has the disease he has, this is a good way to see how he thinks and looks at things.
Finally, I believe the book had both advantages and disadvantages of being written in first person. The advantage is that the text sounds realistic and it is easier to understand and sympathize with the protagonist in the novel who suffers from Asperger's Disease. The disadvantage is that you don't know the point of view of other characters and that could be a problem, because Christopher can't interpret emotions so he probably gives an inaccurate interpretation of the point of view of the other characters in the novel.
What sort of language do we find in the text? Do you have any thoughts on why this might be?
Mark Haddon is definitively no modern Shakespeare, that's for sure. His language is very simple and repetitive. In my opinion this turns out as a book for children, but it's also a good book for older people. This book invites all kinds of people to see a teenager with Asperger's syndrome meet different everyday problems. Therefore do I think this is a good book for us ordinary people, which has the interest to learn about this syndrome.
Activity 3: Reader in the Broader Context: Exploring Issues Today and Yesterday
The motifs in the book are based on either controlled order or chaotic excess. Christopher shows us that mathematics gives him a better opportunity to understand the world around him. In that case I would say that mathematics is one of the most prevalent motifs in the book. There is no doubt that Christopher is very interested in mathematics and science. Both of these topics allow Christopher to distinguish himself apart from others, and it also fuels his brain in a positive way.
Activity 4: Reader as Critic: Evaluating the novel
First of all would I like to say that I enjoyed reading this book. The conclusion and thoughts I had after reading this book was the fact that I knew so little about Asperser's syndrome, when I first began to read the book. While reading this book I got an insight on how it is for people with such diseases to deal with life and everything that surrounds them. I got surprised of how smart Christopher actually is. I also realized how strong mentally challenged people are. To deal with what they deal with on daily basics can`t be easy. We saw a documentary of autistic kids in school. I also noticed that I found a boy with Asperger's syndrome that reminded me of Christopher. What caught my interest the most was that he had photographic memory, he never lie, and he was extremely observant.
Activity 5: Reader as Questioner: Thinking of What You Want to Know or Discuss
1. The usage of many different sorts of maps and diagrams are something that is special with this novel. Are these types of illustrations effective for us readers, and does it help us to see the world through Christopher's eyes?
2. Why doesn't Christopher like to be touched, can it have something to do with his childhood? Does he really understand that his parents love him? It seems like Christopher doesn't like people very much compared to animals, but is there anyone that he binds bonds to?
3. Christopher understands that he is unique compared to other children. On pages 45-48 he describes his problems accurately, which style does he use to relate this information?
4. We all know that all kind of families got their own problem, but in this book it seems special, based on that Christopher has his syndrome. In which way do we need think different about our relations to love and desire? To read the book through Christopher`s eyes makes us help to discover problems that these types of kids have to go through, in what way do we see us self in another perspectives?