Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME FORUMS BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:35 pm




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 
Curious Incident: Pages 45 - 88 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Owner
Diamond Contributor 3

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 13940
Location: Florida
Thanks: 1922
Thanked: 731 times in 581 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)
Highscores: 10

Post Curious Incident: Pages 45 - 88
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Pages 45 - 88 ) ::145

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 1/26/06 10:12 pm



Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:12 pm
Profile Email YIM WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
I dumpster dive for books!

Bronze Contributor

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1796
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 14 times in 12 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Christopher's Imagination
Christopher offers a slice of his imagination by sharing his dream of becoming an astronaut. I am puzzled at how he is able to provide such a lucid account of such imagining, considering he makes it clear he is writing this book the way he is, in the first person, and why he started with the dog, "because it happened to me, and I find it hard to imagine things which did not happen to me." (p.5)

Considering the strict parameters of his logical orderliness, this kind of extrapolation outwards into a future that hasn't happened yet, is interesting. Likewise, I am not sure how he is able to develop the notion of a Dream Come True. (p.51) It seems that this phrase and its relation to a non-existent personal experience (having never happened), is too close to the kind of metaphoric language he rejects early on in the book. Similarly, his use of the term "stroke of inspiration" (p.42) sounds deeply metaphorical too. Perhaps our Author is unable to consistently follow the restrictions he has created for Christopher's mind?

I'm also interested in his passion to prove that he is not stupid, and his vision of getting accepted to a University, then get a job, make money, and find a wife who will take care of him and save him from loneliness. It seems to conflict with his Dream Come True of being an astronaut alone in outerspace, with Toby his pet rat.

In any case, Christopher is proving to be a complex character inside and out. He is willing to hold secrets from his father and tell white lies too. His description of a white lie (simply with-holding some of the truth of an event or action) and his comfort with telling them; sounds similar to his discomfort with how people often tell him what not to do, leaving out the specifics, and confusing him by not clarifying when to stop following their instructions.



Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 2/6/06 11:38 pm



Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:23 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Owner
Diamond Contributor 3

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 13940
Location: Florida
Thanks: 1922
Thanked: 731 times in 581 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)
Highscores: 10

Post Re: Christopher's Imagination
Quote:
Perhaps our Author is unable to consistently follow the restrictions he has created for Christopher's mind?


::171 I think you're right. And good work finding those slips by the author. I missed them myself.




Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:37 am
Profile Email YIM WWW
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
The Pope of Literature


Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2553
Location: decentralized
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Christopher's Imagination
Dissident Heart: Christopher offers a slice of his imagination by sharing his dream of becoming an astronaut. I am puzzled at how he is able to provide such a lucid account of such imagining, considering he makes it clear he is writing this book the way he is...

I wondered about that, too. Specifically, he says that other people have images in their head which are not strictly memory, but that he only has memory. But in nearby chapters he talks about imagining himself to be exploring sulfer chimneys or manning a space flight.

Perhaps our Author is unable to consistently follow the restrictions he has created for Christopher's mind?

I thought that might be the case, but having given it a little thought, I'm more inclined to the answer that Christopher isn't as consistent as he'd like to be. Throughout the book he's presented a number of behavioral rules, and found exceptions for just about all of them. He can't lie, but he can tell white lies. He never breaks a promise, but he's pretty aware that, no matter how careful he's being to keep to his actual promise, he's really going against his promise in his conversation with Mrs. Alexander. And I can't really imagine that Haddon could have written these chapters -- the ones in which Christopher eschews imagination and then turns right around and gives examples of them -- could fail to notice the inconsistency. It seems likely to me that it's intentional. It's tempting to take Christopher at his word, but I think Haddon, who has worked with autistic children, is being sly about hinting that our narrator isn't entirely trustworthy.




Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:25 pm
Profile


Post BAHAHA THE UNRELIABLE NARRATOR!!
!!!!
I know this one! I don't know much but I know a re-freaking-diculous amount about the unreliable narrator!!!

Christopher is only 15. Even if he were a normal 15 year old (if such things exist) he would still only have the perceptions of a 15 year old.

We are, quite naturally, inclined to trust our narrator.
This particular narrator is incredibly interesting because of his particular nature, his obsesssion with fact, and his (apparent) ability to view a situation without bias.

But what is it that we really know is true?




Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:42 am
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
The Pope of Literature


Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2553
Location: decentralized
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post Re: BAHAHA THE UNRELIABLE NARRATOR!!
Yeah, I think one of the things that's going on in the story is that Mark Haddon is playing around with our perceptions about people with autism. And one way he's doing that is by presenting Christopher as too "different" to be as untrustworthy as we are. But that doesn't seem to me at all the case. He's got to be a little sneakier about it because he apparantly has certain mental blocks, but he's no more an arbiter of the plain truth than, say, Holden Caulfield.

The other way it strikes me that Haddon might be skewing our perceptions -- then again, maybe he's not -- is by playing on the hoary old trope of the wise fool. Fortunately no one here has really made that jump, but it seems to me that he's inviting us into the trap of thinking that Christopher is spouting profound knowledge when he talks generalities about life, math, science, and so on. More often than not, it seems to me that his digressions on, say, the human mind, are a kind of defensive retreat.

Pay attention to where these digressions turn up. It seems to me that they'll often show up in a new chapter directly after a chapter that has ended on an dramatic high-point. For example, Chapter 97 features a pretty upsetting revelation; we may have seen it coming, but Christopher hasn't. Still, he shows no emotional affect. The chapter that follows is 101, in which Chris discusses the complexity of math, illustrating it with The Monty Hall Problem. This has almost nothing to do with the revelation of the previous chapter, even if it's germaine to Christopher's characterization. But it seems to me that the best explanation for this digression appearing where it does is that Christopher, as our narrator, needs to back away from the information that he's just received. So he retreats into a more comfortable world.

I'm almost tempted to say that there's a bit of social critique here. But for the moment, I'd rather speculate on the nature of autism. Because one thing that I'm picking up about Christopher as I read -- and if Christopher is based on Haddon's experience working with autistic individuals, then it may be true of actual people with autism -- is that he filters the world around us, that he latches on to our preoccupations as a culture.

For instance, in chapter 131, Christopher lists wood as one of the things that justifies his dislike of the color brown: "because people used to make machines and vehicles out of wood, but they don't anymore because wood breaks and goes rotten and has worms in it sometimes, and now people make machines and vehicles out of metal and plastic, which are much better and more modern". In saying so, he's taken fairly practical considerations and elevated them beyond any reproach or critique. Moreover, he's made them part of an intense phobia.

I'm starting to go on and on, so I'll stop here. I hope this train of thought sparks some comment.




Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:54 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
I dumpster dive for books!

Bronze Contributor

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1796
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 14 times in 12 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Chaos, Absurd Logic, and Manic Control
I'm finding myself wanting Christopher to be free of malice or deceit, not exactly the wise fool that MA refers to...but a simple saint.

"His autism protects him from the kinds of character flaws and vices the rest of us struggle with" is the narrative I have seeping into my reading. I think Caulfield is helping this along with the constant reminder that Christopher does not lie, always keeps promises, expects perfect justice, cannot imagine what is not real, etc..

Christopher is filled with ridiculous notions of meaning and importance: five red cars = very good day; three yellow cars = black day, etc.. This, I think, is Caulfield's way of challenging us to confront the absurdities we cling to, trying to hold our worlds together. Our lives, like Christopher's, are filled with nonsensical rules that provide little more than comfort and safety.

We will settle for absurd order if it can save us from chaos. And Christopher is terrified of chaos; thus his obsession with logical order and manic control. Perhaps autism (leaving aside any grey-matter malfunctions) is what happens to those souls too sensitive for the chaotic mess of existence?


Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 2/9/06 3:53 pm



Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:03 pm
Profile


Post re:
I can see the whole 'free from our misperceptions' like with the believing in God thing... But personally? Christopher freaks me out.

I'll get back to that, when we get to a later chapter.




Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:25 pm
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
The Pope of Literature


Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2553
Location: decentralized
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post Re: re:
Heh, freaks you out? Looking forward to hearing about that.




Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:51 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
I dumpster dive for books!

Bronze Contributor

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1796
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 14 times in 12 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Memory
"My memory is like a film...." Says Christopher, utilizing a simile but launching into full blown metaphor as he describes his mind recording, rewinding, fast fowarding, searching, pausing, without the buttons of course, "because it is happening in my head."

Christopher says he uses this process when asked to recall persons or events, or when he needs to act in difficult situations. His memory simply searches, finds the needed data, and he is equipped with the right information with which to decide what to think or do next.

He asserts his memory is different from other people, who also have "pictures in their heads"; but, unlike them, all of his pictures are of things "which really happened." While others carry make believe, imagined, unreal images that have never existed.

His examples are interesting: they are people close to him who use their minds to yearn for something different in life; loved ones who are unhappy applying their imaginations to develop scenarios that might alleviate their miseries.

Christopher is void of longing, unable to wish or dream or fantasize for something better. This seems in direct contradiction to his desire to become an astronaut; or his claim that people can want things even if they can't come true.

I think there is something to MA's insight regarding Chritopher's defensive retreat mode. And I think a telling component to this is how Christopher answers the questions, "What would you want to say to your mother if she was here now?" or "What would your mother think about that?" His response: this is stupid because Mother is dead and you can't say anything to people who are dead and dead people can't think.

The questions aren't directed at Mother post-mortem, but Mother while living. Christopher should be able to simply extrapolate from his memories of how she responded to similar situations, questions, etc. and draw logical conclusions as to how she would act presently.

Perhaps it hurts too much.



Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 2/14/06 4:14 pm



Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:13 pm
Profile


Post Re: Memory
I think I can clear up some of these 'inconsistencies'. Both highlighted invovle a particular phrase. There is a process commen to many autists whereby they will store phrases, and play them back at a plausible point. You can believe you have engaged in a conversation, then come away and realise that the person has not used their own words, but picked up on phrases, and played them back in.

This also touches on Jade's point, which is very pertinent, about the reliability of the narrator. This is a particular issue, especially when you are hearing the story from, say, Holden Caulfield, when you need to measure each sentence against the clues you have picked up from the rest of the text.

So what we have in a lot of modern literature, from Tristram Shandy onwards, is a consistently unreliable narrator.

But what Christopher represents is a different challenge to the reader, in that we cannot be sure that the words and phrases he uses mean the same (or even anything) to him, as they do to us. And there is no gauge to measure this by, rendering us at points as confused as Christopher, knowing that something is going on, but neither precisely what that is, nor its import.

MA hits another excellent point when he highlights the switch to a digression immediately after a crucial point which Christopher appears ostensibly to have overlooked.

What we may be experiencing is a coping strategy in operation, by which Christopher allows his brain to assimilate information received before moving on, through the rehearsal of pleasurable activity like mathematics.

_________________________________________________________

Il Sotto Seme La Neva




Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:09 pm
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:


BookTalk.org Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Featured Book Suggestions
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
    

Love to talk about books but don't have time for our book discussion forums? For casual book talk join us on Facebook.

Featured Books

Books by New Authors



Booktalk.org on Facebook 



BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSBOOKSTRANSCRIPTSOLD FORUMSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICY

BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
Oliver Twist - by Charles DickensSense and Goodness Without God - by Richard CarrierFrankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOur Amazon.com SalesMassimo Pigliucci Rationally SpeakingOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism BooksFACTS Book Selections

cron
Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2014. All rights reserved.
Website developed by MidnightCoder.ca
Display Pagerank