Kiessel, Analysis: Curious Incident

As I read through the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, I noticed that there were a lot of common stereotypes that we have already discussed, such as the extreme intelligence, the superior memory, as well as the emotional detachment. Relating it back to the past two readings, there is this common theme of mechanical imagery. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Bromden was seeing mechanical gears because he was schizophrenic. In Martian Time Lapse, there were the teachers that were computerized and kind of took over for human practices of traditional teaching. The mechanical references are scattered throughout The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time but can especially noticed when Christopher says, “the mind is just a complicated machine” (116). He goes on to describe the process of the mind works and it is very detached from emotion and mechanical. However, this emotional detachment that is very prevalent throughout the entirety of the book is contrasted with Christopher’s love of animals, specifically dogs, but rats too.

The first scene opens up and Christopher holds the dead dog, Wellington. I don’t think many of us would see a dead dog and our first instinct would be to pick it up and hold it. Furthermore, Toby is taken care of very well by Christopher. Christopher makes it a priority that he is fed, watered, and played with. When Christopher leaves to go to London, first he tries to find him a good home and when that doesn’t work he does not even hesitate to take Toby with him. Then there is Sandy that is the forgive-me-present from Christopher’s dad, Ed. I think it is clear that while themes of detachment are extremely blatant, that the converse of emotions and feelings are demonstrated with dogs because it is a type of companionship and love that does not require human touch or loud noise. Furthermore, at autism & pets there is some information that bolsters the argument that pets (not just dogs) can benefit those with ASD but specific and careful consideration should be taken when deciding whether or not pets should be brought into the family. Some kids with ASD, “may not react well (to dogs) if the child is frequently agitated, or sensitives to noise may have great difficulty with an active dog or one that tends to bark.” It is also relevant that benefits of pets are not limited to dogs; this idea is demonstrated by the novel because Christopher owns Toby and loves him.

I think it is important that generalizations do not occur that every person with ASD can cope with emotional detachment via pets/animals. Just like neurotypicals, different people will have their preferences and coping methods and while pets can be very beneficial, they are not always the right solution  for every case.

Sources

https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/autism-and-pets-more-evidence-social-benefits

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