Author Archives: rachel16d

DeLeeuw- Analysis 5

As I read this book, I couldn’t help but giggle every now and then. It was pretty funny! The fact that it was told by a fifteen year old boy was really great because I haven’t read many book with the narrator being a teenage boy. I usually read book with teenage girls as the main character when I was younger, so this was refreshing. What was also refreshing was the obvious symptoms of Autism. I was glad I was able to be in the mind of him, but actually understand the plot.

In the beginning, I was a little annoyed that Christopher’s father lied to him about his mother. That seemed really low of him, but it ended up fueling Christopher’s mystery skills, so I guess it was necessary for the plot. I think that’s what I liked most about this book. I was able to picture everything that was happening, but not what was going to happen next. Each little chapter was unique and kept me on my toes. I think that was strategically done because Christopher’s mind is always racing with new ideas and routines that a neurotypical person wouldn’t normally experience.

Related to the plot is the love that Christopher has for dogs. I think dogs symbol companionship that Christopher craves. People are unpredictable, but dogs are always there. I was glad that he was given Sandy in the end, it seemed like the right way to end the story. That mixed with his success at math really boosted his confidence, and it was inspiring.

As a searched the internet for some related articles, I was really interested in the fact that this book was made into a show on Broadway! This book is a great choice to do this with because it’s so charming and suspenseful. It is really brought to life through the props and set used, and I think it’s a great way to understand the mind of a child on the spectrum.

Even though this book has the common stereotypes of a autistic person, I don’t think they were seen as negative. He had social awkwardness and unbelievable intelligence, but I never read him as rude. Even though he is super intelligent and Sherlock Holmes is mentioned, I didn’t get a sense of Holmes’s personality. As I read, I got a shy and curious boy who just wants  to go to college.

I think it’s safe to say that this is my favorite book so far this semester, and I’m so glad I got to write a blog post about it. It’s great to read something entertaining, yet educational. I’m a little more knowledgeable about young people on the spectrum than I ever have been before. I felt a connection with him, because sometimes confrontation is hard, and all I want to do is scream. It’s great that he figured out ways to deal with his anxiety, and I wish the Broadway play was still open so I could go see it!



DeLeeuw- Analysis 4

As I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I couldn’t help but be engaged with all of the characters. The amount of descriptions and attention to detail is amazing, and definitely didn’t remind me of a Autistic child narrator. I’m glad that the narrator came from an essentially mute character so the reader could get an outside look to all of the loud and “crazy” characters. Therefore,  I looked up a character analysis of Chief so I could have good understanding of who he was while I read. I was pleasantly happy to find that I picked up on some symbolism he describes as I read.

It’s hard to understand at first what is truthfully wrong with Chief, but the constant fog that is around him is great for representing his foggy outlook on life and thoughts about himself. I can only imagine what Chief went through as a child with a father who was submissive to his wife and being ignored by everyone for being Native American. I’m not surprised that he ended up in a mental hospital, but I am surprised at the treatment he receives.

I think that reading this book adds to my negative stereotypes that I have towards mentally disabled, and the institutions they are in. Even though this book serves as an entertaining story, it supports the negative ideas of ill treatment and mean doctors/nurses. Along with these stereotypes, I noticed that this book stereotypes that actual patients. McMurphy is violent and he is also funny, just like some of the other patients. This is something that we saw in Rain Man too. Raymond was good for a laugh every now and then. But is this a good stereotype to have about mentally challenged people? I don’t really think so because now I expect them all to be.

I surprised myself by not picking  up on the female roles in the book. Nurse Ratched just seems like a terrible woman. I found a pretty cool article online about feminism in this book and it made me think about this issue. “The female characters in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest can be divided into two extreme categories: “ball-cutters” and whores. The former is represented by Nurse Ratched, Harding’s wife, Billy Bibbit’s mother, and Chief Bromden’s mother. Each of these women are intent on dominating men by emasculating them, whereas the whores Candy and Sandy are dedicated to pleasuring men and doing what they’re told.” I’m sure as we continue to read, or watch the movie we will get an even greater understanding of this thought, but now that I found it I’m going to try and focus more on feminism and not just on the men of the story.

Basically, this book touches on so many different topics that it’s hard for me to just focus on one of them. I’m eager to see how Chief and McMurphy grow in the next part of the book. Maybe they will change the negative stereotypes that are going on so far.




DeLeeuw- Analysis 3

As I read the chapters for tonight, I was intrigued with the different scenarios and stories that were told about different children. I’m glad the author decided to explain many details of their lives because they became so real to me. Having said that, I was mortified by chapter 3. Of course anything related to Hitler is gut-wrenching and hard to handle, but I do not remember ever learning about the cruelty towards disabled and handicapped people. I think this might be too sensitive of a topic for high school students.

“‘Wartime, Adolf Hitler suggested, “was the best time for the elimination of the incurably ill.'” This is the first sentence of a website I found that further explains Hitler’s actions. It’s just appalling to me that anyone could say such a thing. What makes it worse for me is the compassion that Hans Asperger seemed to have towards the disables: “Asperger would often just sit with the children, reading poetry and stories to them from his favorite books. ‘I don’t want to simply ‘push from outside’ and give instructions, observing coolly and with detachment… rather, I want to play and talk with the child, all the while looking with open eyes both in to the child and into myself, observing the emotions that arise in reaction to everything that occurs in the conversation between the two of us” (87). The extent of his research was very profound and it is obvious that he wanted to make sure he had all of the evidence and testing he needed to create a correct diagnosis.

A profound moment in this chapter is when Asperger proposes a radical way of thinking and speaks controversially against Hitler. “Not everything that steps out of line, and is thus ‘abnormal,’ must necessarily be ‘inferior” (128). I think this quote is perfect for the correct view to have on autistic people as well as any person with a disability. Every single person has a purpose in this life and thankfully Asperger understood that. Therefore, I wonder what would of happened if Asperger wasn’t so compassionate? If he didn’t call his patients his little professors and he turned them into the Reich.

What couldn’t escape my mind throughout the reading was that each story had it’s unique quality as well had similarities. Each child that was looked into by a doctor had social anxiety, and from this and what we have learned so far in the semester, social anxiety is the main indicator of being on the autistic spectrum. It was hard for me to find social anxiety with Sherlock Holmes, and now I’m convinced that he was not on the spectrum because of this. I’m glad we read him before this though because my view on the disorder has greatly broadened and I’m more mindful in my looking for symptoms.

“Asperger realized in the 1930s that autism was a spectrum of disorders that conferred both disability and ability,” and he is a hero for figuring this out. Children are being diagnosed correctly because of his research and his courage is an inspiration.


DeLeeuw- Analysis 2- Scarlet

“Oh, I didn’t say there was anything against him. He is a little queer in his ideas—an enthusiast in some branches of science. As far as I know he is a decent fellow enough.” This is the first description we get of Sherlock Holmes in the reading. With this, one might think that the first meeting of Holmes would be bizarre and uncomfortable. In fact, it’s the opposite! Watson seems pleased with Holmes and Holmes seems excited to start working with him. To me, this doesn’t fit the characteristics of Autism because with previous examples, the people suffering from autism were stuck in their ways and afraid of being social.

However, as the second chapter begins Watson mentions Holmes’s regular schedule and meals. So to start off the reading, Holmes is a mystery. I think that’s what is so great about him, he solves mysteries, but he himself is one.

Naturally I had to look up some different opinions on the matter of Holmes being on the spectrum or not. I found a good article from the New York Times where they went into a great analysis of Sherlock. Below are a few symptoms that the author of the article claimed as evidence:


Holmes often seems oblivious to what others are thinking or feeling, even his dear Watson.


While working, Holmes seems inexhaustible, not sleeping for days. Between cases, he sometimes falls into a state of deep lethargy.


Holmes has extensive knowledge of odd subjects — like 140 different types of cigar, pipe and cigarette ash

When you look at Holmes from this perspective it’s hard to not think of him as Autistic, however I do not think he has it severely. Because of his social skills, sense of adventure, and ability to embrace change I can only conclude that he could have the mildest form, if at all. To me, he just seems like a quirky guy with different priorities than some.

I really liked how the narrator of this story is an observer, just like in Bartleby the Scrivener. It gave me another way of looking at someone with a different type of autism. The past two examples have been so extreme, and this one is very puzzling. Related, Watson and Holmes’ relationship reminds me a little of Raymond and Charlie’s relationship in “Rain Man.” The similarities I see are the ability to care about each other despite differences and bouncing off each other with jokes and such.

Although I didn’t really see too much Autism characteristics in Sherlock Holmes, I do agree that he could be considered on the spectrum. I think it is impossible to characterize a fictional character because we will never truly know what the author was thinking when he created the character and wrote his story. Consequently, Sherlock Holmes  will always be a mystery to his readers and analyzers.

DeLeeuw, Analysis 1

The first day of this class I was not what I was expecting. For some reason I didn’t think that it was going to focus on Autism. However, I’m very glad that it is. I’m very eager to learn about this because I am going to be a teacher someday and I really need to know how to communicate with these kind of children.

While reading this weeks readings, the quote that really stuck out to me was on page 385: “Our adversaries are not demons, witches, fate, or mental illness… we have no enemy whom we can fight, exorcise, or dispel by ‘cure.’ What we do have are problems in living- whether these be biologic, economic, political, or sociopsychological.” In this time of life, people seem to be much more accepting and knowledgeable with mental illnesses, but not so much in the past. I think this quote perfectly explains that because everyone used to think you were possessed, but not anymore.

I have a cousin who is physically and mentally challenged, and every time I asked my parents what was wrong with her, they could never give me a straight answer. To this day, I still do not know what she has. I think this is just terrible, and I related a lot to chapter 9 because of this. Bill was completely left alone and no one understood what was wrong with him, but thankfully he made a friend, Murray, and everything worked out for him. My cousin was befriended by a really nice girl, and I think she saved her. Without the friendship, I don’t think Bill or my cousin would have the will to live.

While looking through the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria, I couldn’t believe how well Dustin Hoffman portrayed some of these in the movie Rain Man. When you read the actual descriptions of each criteria, it’s a little overwhelming, but to see it in film or real life, that makes my skin crawl.

Because I plan on being a teacher, I went online and found a source that helps teachers with strategies on how to teach children with Autism and other disorders. I’ve found that big visuals and constant positive reinforcement is the best approach. I have the website link below for anyone who wants to check it out.

To conclude, I now understand a little more about Autism and all of the complicated things it has had to go through to be understood and accepted. All of the stories from this weeks readings really gave a broad range of the disorder, and all of them are unique in their own way.