"And that means I can do anything" : The curious incident of the dog in the night-time and the changing definition of "disability" : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)

Thumbnail Image
Kovac, Katherine A.
Huff, Joyce L.
Issue Date
Thesis (B.?.)
Honors College
Other Identifiers

Disability is something that affects every single person in this world, regardless of whether the larger society realizes it or not. Unless each individual is proactively attempting to do so, the walls of stereotype that have been built around those with disabilities will not be torn down. I approach the prejudices facing people with disabilities from a literature standpoint by examining Mark Haddon's 2003 novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Haddon's novel is a first as far as disability in literature is concerned, because it not only features a disabled narrator, but this narrator also breaks out of the mold of the stock disabled character. I argue that Christopher, the narrator, is meant to educate the reader about the realities of living with a disability, specifically autism, and to demonstrate that disability is not wrong: its just different. I examine the symptoms and traits of autism and compare them to those of Christopher to prove the realistic nature of Haddon's depiction of the disorder, followed by a close reading of the novel examining Christopher as a character, the way the people around him react to him, and how the world would be if Christopher - or someone who thought like him - were able to run it. Finally, I conclude by stating that the only thing holding Christopher back from doing "anything" are the preconceived ideas of those around him, and the limits placed on him not by his disability but by society itself.