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Christopher John Francis Boone
Transcript of Christopher John Francis Boone
Christopher doesn't understand that walking away like this is rude. Because he doesn't understand social protocol, he doesn't understand other people's behaviour and can't apply it to himself.
Look under the surface and discover that there is more to Christopher than meets the eye!
Christopher John Francis Boone
A 15-year-3-month-old boy with Asperger's Syndrome
Christopher suffers from social anxiety, he is not able to cope well out in a world filled with strangers, unpredictable events and loud sounds. His inability to read people's faces and understand their (to him illogical) reactions causes him to retract into himself. He does not seem to crave that much human contact and prefers to be alone with his math and pet rat once he returns from school. He learns about 'Stranger Danger' at school and due to his logical thinking applies this to all strangers, making it difficult for him to make friends.
"I will be able to get a job and earn lots of money and pay someone to look after me and cook my meals and I will get a lady to marry me so I can have company and not be on my own" p. 58 (although one can argue that he says this not because he is afraid to be alone, but because he needs/likes the idea that someone takes care of him needs)
Christopher and Asperger's
Can't read faces and emotions: "Then she drew some other pictures [different smiley faces] but I was unable to say what these meant." p.2. Because of this he cannot emphasize with other people, he simply can't put himself in their position, he can't see what they see.
Lives in his own world and is oblivious to the things around him. E.g. he doesn't realise that his father had an affair with Mrs Shears after their respective spouses ran off together.
Christopher doesn't recognize humour except when it is in the form of an actual joke and he doesn't understand sarcasm. What you say it what you mean.
Not always able to stay focused (except when doing maths). For example when he finds a stabbed Wellington, a shocking scene for a 'normal' person, he disgresses and writes about how (and why) he likes dogs.
Christopher does not have a lot of patience when it comes to people. For example he gets frustrated and angry when people laugh at him.
"[Siobhan] got out a pencil and another piece of paper and said it probably made people feel very [confused smiley] and then she laughed. So I tore the original piece of paper up and threw it away." p.3
Christopher does not like lies, mostly because he cannot tell lies himself. He does tell white lies, because they are not complete lies. "I do not tell lies... But it is not because I am a good person. It is because I can't tell lies." p.24
He will always tell the truth unless there is a logical reason not to. In such a case he doesn't lie, he tells a white lie (leaves out important information). He can tell white lies because they are not complete lies.
Introvert - Christopher's favourite dream
"... I had one of my favourite dreams... And in the dream nearly everyone is dead, because they have caught a virus... And eventually there is no one left in the world except people who don't look at other people's faces... and these people are all special like me." p.242-243
Christopher dreams of being alone in the world, but to him this is a good thing. In this ideal world he does not have to talk to anyone and no one will disturb his routine. This supports the arugment that he is not a lonely character but an introverted one.
One of the reasons why Christopher dreams of a world without 'normal' people is that he is socially awkward. Because he doesn't understand nor pick up on social rules he doesn't know how to behave around them.
"[Mrs Alexander] turned and went into the house... and she was inside the house for more than 6 minutes and I began to get nervous because I didn't know what she was doing in the house... So I walked away" p.53
Love of Routines
Because the world is chaotic and confusing to Christopher, he appreciates routines: "This was the timetable for a Monday" p.192. When new strange things happen, he has a hard time coping with them.
When things happen in the correct (logical) order it reassures him: "I said that I liked things to be in a nice order. And one way of things being in a nice order was to be logical" p.31
Christopher loves maths, plus he's good at it. Maths is logical, there's always one correct answer which reassures him. This is also why he does maths in his spare time and when he is stressed.
He is able to list all the prime numbers all the way to 7,507 - perhaps bordering on being a savant?
He takes an A-level in maths (about 2 years early) and gets an A
He explains some quite complicated mathematical and physics problems in some of his digressions
The logical makes more sense to Christopher than for example humour. E.g. When Rhodri throws the sum 251 x 864 at him:
"And that's 216,864. And I said, 'Is that right?' And Rhodri said,'I haven't got a bloody clue,' and he laughed. I don't like when Rhodri laughs at me. Rhodri laughs at me a lot...Then I went into the garden" p.84
To Christopher the logical next step after solving a sum is to find out whether the answer is correct. But Christopher doesn't understand that Rhodri thinks it is fun to see him solve a sum because Rhodri is impressed by his skills.
Christopher's ability to recall conversations, to draw maps of where he's been, to notice all the little details is remarkable.
"My memory is like a film. That is why I am really good at remembering things, like the conversations I have written down in this book, and what people were wearing, and what they smelled like, because my memory has a smelltrack which is like a soundtrack." p.96
"And the signs said Sweet Pastries Heathrow Airport Check-In Here Bagel Factory, EAT, excellence and taste YO! sushi Stationlink... there were too many and my brain wasn't working properly and this frightened me." p.208-210
Christopher's memory is not always a blessing. When there are too many things to notice he suffers from sensory overload and his brain 'shuts down' meaning that he doesn't see / register or remember anything.
Christopher - A sensitive boy...
Due to his condition Christopher is sensitive to touch. He does not like being touched: "I did not like him touching me like this. And this is when I hit him." p. 9
He is also sensitive to loud sounds, and will suffer from sensory overload if there are too many: "And then there was a sound like people fighting with swords and I could feel a strong wind and a roaring started and I closed my eyes and the roaring got louder and I groaned really loudly... And I thought I was going to die." p. 216
... yet a loving boy
While Christopher has a hard time showing love for people, even his own parents (consider their form of a hug), he clearly cares for animals.
He is able to feed and play with his pet rat, Toby's, cage.
He is so saddened by the death of Wellington that he embarks on a mission to solve the mystery of his death.
He does not really show happiness / joy when he receives his own dog, Sandy, but the way he describes how he cares for his own her shows that he loves her.
Does Christopher's father give him his own dog as a sort of bribe? As a way to encourage Christopher to trust him again? To feel safe in his house?
Does he give him the dog because Christopher has grown, he has matured and shown that he is able to do more, thus also take on the extra responsibility of caring for a larger and more demanding animal?
"And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? and I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything." p. 268
Christopher has 'matured' throughout the book. He has grown as a person and has been brave enough to try new things on his own. Perhaps he will continue to do new things and thus we can only guess at what he may achieve in the future.
Christopher and his parents
Is it even relevant to talk about Christopher having a relationship with his parents? Not because he doesn't want to (we don't know) but because he is incapable of having one. Yet, if we look at things from the parents' point of view, it is important to note:
Christopher's well-being relies very much on his father. When Christopher discovers that his father killed Wellington he is not upset by this fact, instead he fears his father because he fears that he may kill Christopher. Christopher does not distinguish between killing animals and people. In the end they start to rebuild their relationship, but this can only be done by his father.
Christopher is shocked when he learns that his mother is still alive. His being sick is the only reaction to him being shocked. But because he does not have emotional relationships, he does not blame her for leaving him or react to her suddenly being in his life again. As long as there is someone to take care of him he is fine.