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English II Honors: Book Presentation

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Amy Massoth

on 10 January 2011

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Transcript of English II Honors: Book Presentation

The main setting of this book is in a small town in England called Swindon. The novel takes place in 1998. The main character mainly goes to three places: his quaint little home, his school for disabled children, and a small little shop down the street from his home. He greatly dislikes going anywhere else on the account of his condition, but travels to London, England by train in search of his mother. Characters He is the protagonist of the novel who is fifteen years old. He has an inability to recognize that other people have thoughts or feelings, and therefore implies that he has an autism-related disorder. He is greatly opposed to social interaction, but is immensely gifted when it comes to math, science, or memory. Christopher was informed that she had died a couple of years prior to his writing of the novel. He describes her has a loving, yet hot-tempered woman, who was easily stressed by the difficulty of raising a son with disabilities like he had. Acts as a single parent to Christopher making his meals, taking care of him, and helping him throughout his daily life. He owns a boiler repair and heating maintenance service. He is calm and protective of Christopher, but he also can blow up in anger out of frustration and his lack of coping skills. This is one of Christopher's neighbors that would cook meals and clean for him and his father after his mother died. It is her dog, Wellington, that is murdered and is the center of his investigation. She has a bit of a temper and was told off by Christopher's father after she said some mean things about Christopher. He is Eileen Shears' estranged husband, and he used to be Christopher's neighbor. He strangely disapeared and no one would tell him where he went. His father is also very volatile towards the subject of Mr. Shears, which also becomes an aspect of Christophers investigation. She is Christopher's main teacher at his school for disabled children, and is a kind and trusting mentor to him. She is one of the seldom people whom Christopher trusts. Her job is to improve Christopher's abilities not only academically, but socially. An elderly lady who lives a few houses away from Christopher. She mainly takes care of her garden and her dachshund, Ivor. She acts as a grandmother of sorts with Christopher, and also later reveals important information regarding his mother and father's affairs. One of Christopher's neighbor's large black poodle that is found dead at the beginning of the story with a pitch fork sticking out of his side. He is the victim in Christopher's murder investigation. Personal Critique I felt that this book was very well written and interesting. Although, you have to get past all of the little pictures, diagrams, and random facts to truly understand what is happening and what is going on in Christopher's life. You have to infer that Christopher is autistic (which you can tell fairly quickly) and look deep down into his thoughts and emotions and look from his perspective and outlook on people and the world. I liked how the author wrote the novel; he didn't use commas usually, he would list things that were random, and would state things that were seemingly irrelevant to the story. But I felt that all of those aspects were needed to actually see how Christopher was thinking and how he dealt with the situations he was placed into. I wish the author could've ended the book more conclusive and not nearly as open-ended, but otherwise I felt that it was fun to read. I would recommend this book to people who are not easily distracted by minor details and can use in-depth reading skills. It was captivating, unusual, and an enveloping story. Text to World Reading through this novel, I found that Christopher was like many people around the world who are both normal and obtaining conditions like he has. Like most people, he has developed several coping mechanisms that are very important whenever he is put in stressful or unnerving situations. He is occasionly made fun of for his surprising intelligence but doesn't allow that to bother him. He is scared and confused a lot of the time and is just trying to figure out what he should and shouldn't do. I think that, in essence, Christopher is just another person with certain disadvantages and advangtages and was just trying to find his way like many people in this world. Plot Expostion Rising Action Climax Falling Action Resolution Christopher looks for his book which his father hid in his bedroom, and then comes across exactly 43 letters addressed to himself. He begins to read the letters and finds that they are from his mother dated from two years ago to the present date. He blacks out until his father comes home who cleans him up and tries to explain to him all what happened. In his father's explanation, he admits to murdering Wellington in a fit of rage, leaving Christopher fearful of his father, believing that he will murder him.
In the end, Christopher's father tries to reconcile their relationship by surprising Christopher with a golden retriever puppy which they named Sandy. Christopher concludes that he finished his investigation, got an A on his level A maths exam, and traveled to London and found his mother all on his own, and therefore he can do anything. In the beginning, we find Christopher in Mrs. Shears's yard holding the recently deceased dog, Wellington. He is arrested by the police after he assults an officer. On his car ride to the police station, he explains his life situation and why he is writing the novel. Christopher escapes from his home in the middle of the night and hides in the garden behind a shed until his father leaves in the morning. He then decides that it would be best to go to London and find his mother, so he steals his father's credit card, takes his rat Toby, and brings some food with him. Christopher then finds the train station and is assisted by a police officer to get cash from the credit card and to get a train ticket. A police officer finds Christopher and the train stops, in which Christopher hides in the bathroom and the police officer runs off looking for him and he escapes. Christopher finds his mother and Mr. Shears at their flat and is welcomed by them. Christopher's father also travels to London and finds them, wanting his son back or at least the chance to talk to him, but Christopher refuses. Christopher's mother and Mr. Shears begin to fight over how long Christopher should stay and where he is going to go, inevitably causing tension and leaving his mother to "borrow" Mr. Shears's car and drive back to Swindon. Christopher's mother buys a flat and finds a job, and Christopher is allowed to take his A-level maths exam. He also has to stay with his father in the afternoons, in which he refuses to converse with him and keeps him at arms length. Christopher's father has him released from his holding cell and he is given a warning. It was then that it became Christopher's mission to discover who murdered Wellington. His father tells him to drop the investigation and leave the matters alone, but he is not persuaded and decides that he will figure it out. Christopher continues for a few days with a facade that he will no longer be concerned with the investigation, but later goes in search of the book. Mrs. (Eileen) Shears Christopher's Father - Ed Boone Christorpher John Francis Boone Siobhan Wellington Mrs. Alexander Mr. (Rodger) Shears Christopher's Mother - Judy Boone Themes Literary Elements Christopher reveals memories of two years prior to writing his novel and explains how he was told his mother had died of a heart attack. Christopher continues investigating Wellington's murder and ends up talking to his neighbor, Mrs. Alexander and she tells Christopher that his mother and Mr. Shears had an affair before she died, which both startled and confused him. Conflicts The central conflict of this novel is that Christopher is trying to uncover Wellington's murderer. This was an external conflict for the protagonist. Along with that, he deals with the conflict between him and his father, because his father had lied to him about the dog and his mother, which was internal. In addition, Christopher decided to travel to London to find his mother, which was external. Also, he almost didn't make it back in time for his A-level maths exam and then nearly had a panic attack when taking it. Finally, Christopher had to force himself to forgive his father, and restart their shattered relationship. Christopher begins to relentlessly pester his mother over when they are going to return to Swindon to take his A-level maths exam, yet he doesn't know that she already called in to the school and canceled the exam. When Christopher finds out this fact, he becomes distraught. Plot Passage "Then I stopped reading the letter becase I felt sick. Mother had not had a heart attack. Mother had not died. Mother had been alive all the time. And Father had lied about this. I tried really hard to think if there was any other explanation but I couldn't think of one. And then I couldn't think of anyting at all because my brain wasn't working properly. I felt giddy. It was like the room was swining from side to side...I rolled onto the bed and curled up into a ball...I heard Father coming into the house and calling out my name..." (Haddon 113).

This is the climax of the story and Christopher has discovered the stash of letters and is reading them. He is beginning to realize the reality of the letters and that his mother is still alive. The sudden realization send him into a shock and he becomes sick and unable to move until his father comes home. Christopher records the information in his novel and returns home, leaving the book out in the open in his kitchen. While Christopher is watching a television show, his father comes home and finds the book, proceeding to read it. He reads about Christopher's invesigation and what he heard from Mrs. Alexander, becoming ferociously angry because Christopher disobeyed him and was writing it down, no less. When Christopher's father confronts him, the confrontation makes a turn for the worst and his father hits him in the face. He apologizes several times and takes Christopher to the zoo the next day. But to Christopher's demise, his father witholds the book and will not return it too him, commanding him to forget about everything. Christopher decides that Mrs. Shears's husband may be to blame and labels him his "Primary Suspect". His father goes into a fit of rage when Chrisopher mentions Mr. Shears and orders Christopher to never again speak of him, nor go looking for information about him. “I think I would make a very good astronaut. To be a good astronaut you have to be intelligent and I’m intelligent. You also have to understand how machines work and I’m good at understanding how machines work. You also have to be someone who would like being on their own in a tiny space-craft thousands and thousands of miles away…” (Haddon 50).

In this quote Christopher is explaining why he would want to be an astronaut and the reasons why he would be good at it. This is an example of his condition and his social problems. Christopher feels superior to his classmates in school and feels almost less worthy as a person for going to a school with them. He is showing how he could utilize his love for mathematics, intelligence, and lack of social skills to prove that he's an important person. Passage for Characters Setting " And eventually I got to the end of the tunnel and there were some stairs and I went up the stairs and there were lots of people and I groaned and there was a shop at the top of the stairs and a room with chairs in it but there were too many people in the room with chairs in it, so I walked past it...there were some little tables with chairs next to them and no one was sitting at one of the tables and it was in a corner and I sat down on one of the chairs next to it and closed my eyes..." (Haddon 145 and 146).

The main character strongly dislikes new places because that is the unknown and he doesn't have where he's going mapped out in his head. He also has a form of social-anxiety to where he cannot cope with going out in public. This is one of the scenes where he is at the train station getting at ticket to London, England. Passage for Setting Foreshadowing Symbolism I feel that all of the little puzzles, diagrams, maps of locations, and mathematical problems all symbolize the orderly, simple, logistic areas of life that Christopher holds so dear. What the reader can notice when going through the book is that these little devices pop up whenever Christopher is in a difficult situation or whenever he is trying to explain something about people or people's tendincies.. I believe that the reason why the novel was written this way was because this was a part of Christopher's coping mechanisms. So, basically, Christopher uses these items whenever he cannot solve a problem with too many complications so that he can reach a lucid and simple answer. Symbolism Passage Christopher describes the Monty Hall problem in his novel to display that man's intuition is not always correct. This is symbolizing the fact that his intuition regarding Mr. Shears was incorrect, and is also a way that he is organizing his thoughts.

"So if you change, 2 times out of 3 you get a car. And if you stick, you only get a car 1 time out of 3. And this shows that intuition can sometimes get things wrong. And intuition is what people use in life to make decisions. But logic can help you work out the right answer." (Haddon 65). In the beginning of the novel, Christopher's father was outraged with Christopher for wanting to investigate Wellington's murderer. Later when Christopher is asking about Mr. Shears, his father goes into a fit of rage again. I feel that these incidents foreshadow the fact that maybe there is more to Wellington's murder and Mr. Shears. Later on in the novel it is revealed that his father was Wellington's murderer and Mr. Shears had an affair with Christopher's mother, which are both the instigators of his father's immense anger over the two subjects. Foreshadowing Passages "Father said, "Just try and keep out of other people's business." I thought for a little and I said, "I am going to find out who killed Wellington." And Father said, "Were you listening to what I was saying, Christopher?" I said, "Yes, I was listening to what you were saying, but when someone gets murdered you have to find out who did it so that they can be punished." And he said, "It's a bloody dog, Christopher, a bloody dog." I replied, "I think dogs are important, too." He said, "Leave it."..." (Haddon 20 and 21).

In this quote, Christopher is riding home from the police station and he and his father are arguing about Christopher proceeding with an investigation for the dog's murderer. This quote appears to foreshadow the fact that Christopher's father gets upset when talking about the dog's killer, which implies that his father may or may not want to have Christopher reveal the person. "I said, "I think Mr. Shears probably killed Wellington." Father didn't say anything. I said, "He is my Prime Suspect. Because I think someone might have killed Wellington to make Mrs. Shears sad. And a murder is usually committed by someone known-" Father banged teh table with his fist really hard...Then he shouted, "I will not have that man's name mentioned in my house." I asked, "Why not?" And he said, "That man is evil."..." (Haddon 49).

In this section of the novel, Christopher is suggesting that Mr. Shears may have killed the dog, which throws his father into a rage. The reader can infer two things: Mr. Shears must have done something to personally hurt Christopher's father that would make him act out like that and someone else close to Mrs. Shears and the dog may have killed Wellington. The main theme of the novel is Christopher's pursuit in becoming an independent person. Due to Christopher's disorder, he is limited on his independence because he struggles to understand other people and their thoughts, adjusting to new places, and becoming overwhelemed when there are too many variables to a problem. However, Christopher begins disobeying his father and investigating the murder of Wellington. He also talks to the people on his street even though he despises talking to people he doesn't know. His journey to London, England was the largest step towards independence when he traveled alone in an unfamiliar place with numerous people he didn't know. By overcoming all of these obstacles, Christopher feels that he can do anything in the future and is ready to take on the world. Passage for Theme "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." (Haddon 221).

This is the last and concluding statement at the end of Christopher's novel. This exemplifies the fact that he feels that he is independent and can take care of himself because he has accomplished all of these tasks. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
By Mark Haddon
Prezi by Amy Massoth
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