How do texts challenge the reader with complex ideas and appropriate language to express those ideas?
Mark Haddon uses language to challenge the reader with the immerse complexity of in the psychological mindscape of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome, he also portrays the challenges of living with the trials and triumphs of with a child with Asperger’s. Intricate ideas are conveyed through the use of present tense and past tense chapters exploring the interior and exterior of Christopher, and when too overwhelmed digresses on tangents to feel safe again. Through mathematical reasoning, scientific questioning all with logical explanations and crime fiction a puzzle which can be solved.
We are taken on this journey of Christopher experiencing life through various incidents, complex ideas and language impacts the way in which he views his world. Haddon uses various language techniques to challenge to reader with the discovers that Christopher makes.
Upon the first encounter of this extraordinary boy, we come to the realisation that this novel explores the death of a wellington (a dog). Haddon subverts the traditional crime by making the murder of a dog as a catalyst for Christopher’s journey. “the dog is dead” Christopher blunt statement shows the reader how he speaks when asked a simple question by a policeman “would you like to tell me what’s going on here, young man” and he takes it upon him to solve the murder. Haddon established Christopher’s narrative voice through straight forward, truthful and often detailed observations; his distinctive voice with its honesty and simplicity captures our interest and evokes the readers empathy. Language use is sparse, unambiguous, Christopher’s frank use of language tells us much about his values, his dreams and the way he sees the world and his differing relationships with others. Christopher’s voice reveals a childlike naivety through the simple sentence structure, loose truncated sentences, talking in first person. Haddon captures the voice of a teenager with colloquial language and simple sentences adds to his naivety. Christopher’s reported dialogue of his father and others he engages with, adds a unique element of other voices into the into the novel. The important of trust is something that is highly valued by Christopher “I do not tell lies”. this complex perspective on trust is the reason why Christopher is so dramatically affected by his father lying about his mother death and the killing of wellington the dog. Through this he doesn’t like similes because he sees them as lies; but he does use them as concrete comparisons that offer images that enable him to explain things more clearly “shacking up like loaves in the factory where uncle terry works”.
Haddon has introduced the realities of how children with Asperger’s can talk in simple language. But when shown are asked about something that interests them becomes more formal and highly intelligent, the juxtaposition between these ideas add to the structure of the novel “I see everything”. We as the readers are positioned in Christopher’s mind as the events are processed through only his perspective, we are granted entry into his world and the way in which he views. The inner world becomes part of our experience when reading the detailed tangents and detailed encounters presents another component of language to the novel.
Visual elements add another competent to the complex ideas of Haddon’s prose fiction, his language can digress into formal or simplistic due to whatever he is viewing or what he experiences when reacting to it. Graphs, face and illustrations reflect an autistic teenager who finds it difficult to communicate with others to show how his mind works; long rambling sentences express Christopher stress within a situation “And then I tried to think about what I had to do, but I couldn’t think because there were too many things in my head, so I did a maths problem” The diagrams are used to convey Christopher distress in situations which he doesn’t feel comfortable in ; he engages the audience to identify with him as he makes hard decisions ” and I pulled one of the cases across like a door so that I was shut in , and it was dark and there was no one in there with me and I couldn’t hear people talking so I felt much calmer and it was nice. And I did some more quadratic equations”.
This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them” Christopher states early in the novel that this will not be a humorous novel yet; elements of humour have been added to novel. Deadpan humour and blunt references to humour is explored through his language offering a new sense of complexity to Christopher’s character. “It was nice in the police cell. it was almost a perfect cube, 2 metres long by 2 metres wide by 2 metres high. It contained approximately 8 cubic metres of air.”. The reader understands that there is nothing humorous about being a prison cell; adds another challenge for the reader to understand why he is enjoying a prison cell “. Blunt humour adds dramatic irony to the novel, we as the readers understand that this isn’t the context for a joke whereas Christopher is just thinking “but there wasn’t anyone to hit or stab with my Swiss Army Knife except the Reverend Peters and he was very tall and If I hit him or stabbed him with my Swiss Army Knife he wouldn’t be my invigilator”. He has logical reasoning for everything even if I did stab him I wouldn’t be able to do the A Levels.
Explores the acceptance of being different set in the mind of a teenager with Asperger’s gives the readers a better view of the immerse difficult and hardship it brings upon Christopher’s parents and others who encounter the Christopher throughout the novel, “I find people confusing”. Christopher accepts that he is ‘special’ but also dreams of freedom “these special people are like me. And they like being on their own and I hardly ever see them because they are like Okapi in the jungle in the Congo which is a kind of antelope and very shy and rare”.
This prose fiction outlines the themes of how people can be affected by a disability as well as the stress of living with someone.
Christopher experiences that he did everything by himself, Buldings Roman, a coming of age novel for him he believes that he can do anything “And then I will get a First-Class Honours Degree and I will become a scientist. And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and found my mother and I was brave and I wrote this book and that means I can do anything.”?? Exploring his possibilities as a person .
The elaborate language conventions add emphasis, to Haddon’s subverted novel, Factual and objective language, his blunt, dispassionate descriptions and factual digresses. He tells rather than shows he always uses the conjunction ‘And’ to tell, list and cover all the details /ideas running through his mind. These complex ideas give the reader a better understanding although they can be challenge through various incidences.