Mark Haddon; behind the scenes
By: Patrick Rohling
English 12 Mrs. Cox
Block 4 A/C
Mark Haddon has gone through many things in his life. He once aided those who had Multiple Sclerosis and autism. However, his main ambitions were writing and drawing. Haddon has written many successful children’s books but wanted to pursue a new path, so Haddon set out to write a new book to please this new desire. He did not know this book was going to turn out to be about a fifteen year-old autistic boy. Haddon, known for his children’s books, was highly recognized for his most recent piece of literature, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and received multiple awards, but was ...view middle of the document...
” (Weich). The book was highly criticized for having the story told through the eyes of Christopher, a young teen with Asperger’s syndrome. It was seen as inappropriate and not a novel a child should be reading (Contemporary Authors Online 5).
Haddon has seen many things happen throughout his life as do most people. But, he claims that his interactions with patients with multiple sclerosis and autism during his post-university career had no influence with his most recent piece. He just simply tried to make a humanizing portrait of the case of autism. Haddon says he never set out to write a book about a boy with Asperger’s, which is ultimately true because Haddon does not refer to the word Asperger’s or autism once in the novel. But, adding these characteristics to Christopher did help shape the voice in many aspects. Christopher’s various tics obsessions and difficulties are not gathered from people with disabilities (Woodroof 1). It is just assumed through Christopher’s infatuation with math and other daily rituals that he has the condition, Asperger’s Syndrome. On the other hand very few of Haddon’s books are influenced by his early childhood fascination with the achievement of humankind’s first landing on the moon in 1969. The books that show this obsession include Ocean Star Express, and The Sea of Tranquility (Contemporary Authors Online 5).
Asperger’s syndrome was first noticed in 1944 by the man whose name was eventually assigned to the disease, Hans Asperger. Very few people understand what the syndrome really is. Asperger’s is a form of autism that is on the lower end of the Autism Spectrum Disorders. It causes the person to show below-average nonverbal communication, struggle developing peer relationships, and only allows the person to understand the very simple emotions, for example happy face and frowning face (Muller118). Asperger’s Syndrome is what the main character, Christopher, has. Christopher’s counselor shows him cards with different faces on them and he only understands the two basic expressions. The condition is more apparent in males rather than females. Although a person with Asperger’s lacks social interaction, they have above-average intelligence, and most excel in fields like computer programming, mathematics and science. There is no delay in cognitive development or in curiosity about their surroundings as it just affects the social aspect of the person‘s life. Haddon did no prior research about the condition, but he uses many key qualities of a person that would have if they had Asperger’s (Muller 118).
Mark Haddon pushed the limits of writing in many ways, bringing the novel down to a personal level for many readers. Quite a few critics see the book as a putdown to those with the syndrome, yet others see it in a positive way because it exposes the youth of the world to the disease so those who have it are not seen as “different” or “weird. Everyone will have a different perspective on a topic, but I believe...