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Essay on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is told through the eyes of a fifteen year old boy named Christopher Boone. Christopher has a highly-functioning form of autism which allows him to understand complex mathematical problems, but also leaves him unable to comprehend many simple human emotions. His inability to understand metaphors, distinguish emotions, and his lack of imagination makes it possible to consider Christopher as functioning like a computer rather than functioning as a human being. Throughout the story, Christopher is faced with many challenges which he conquers using the stable and never changing system of mathematics. All of these factors suggest that Christopher does, in fact, function like a computer, but it is apparent early in the story that Christopher, regardless of anything else, is capable of independent thought which separates him from the programmed, dependent world of computers.
The book begins as a mystery novel with a goal of finding the killer of the neighbor's dog, Wellington. The mystery of the dog is solved mid-way through the book, and the story shifts towards the Boone family. We learn through a series of events that Christopher has been lied to the past two years of his life. Christopher's father told him that his mother had died in the hospital. In reality she moved to London to start a new life because she was unable to handle her demanding child. With this discovery, Christopher's world of absolutes is turned upside-down and his faith in his father is destroyed. Christopher, a child that has never traveled alone going any further than his school, leaves his home in order to travel across the country to find his mother who is living in London.
In the comparison betwe...


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...though Christopher functions more like a computer than a human, but he possesses the ability to think independently, which over all else represents a human characteristic. No machine can operate efficiently without being instructed and following exact orders. Christopher also needs to be told exactly what to do because the vagueness of common phrases is confusing to him, but knows that people break rules and also knows that he can make decisions for himself. On his journey to find his mother, Christopher makes the decision to break away from all of his rules in order to find her. He is able to go to London against almost all odds, and does so by stepping out of his comfort zone and into a world of uncertainty. Even though he uses computer-like thinking to come to the conclusion of going to his mother, it is his underlying human qualities that make the trip possible.


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