The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

How does Christopher's autism influence his sense of self?

Christopher doesn't have a strong sense of self. Is this due to his autism?

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Christopher's inability to express his feelings of love and closeness in a typical manner can feel alienating. If you did not understand Christopher you might not believe he was capable of feelings of love in the way in which most people understand. However, Christopher once again teaches us the importance of reassessing our own definitions. Even though he does not like to be hugged by his father and even though he shows no obvious signs of missing his mother, Haddon manages to construct a world in which we are genuinely touched by Christopher's honesty about his feelings. Remembering his mother, he explains that she smelt nice which is such a specific memory that it conjures up a whole image of Christopher being physically close to his mother and feeling comforted by her familiar smell. Christopher shows that he is more caring that most people who express their love in the usual ways. When he notices that Toby is missing, he puts his own life in danger in order to save him. Christopher's sense of stability and order comes from understanding science and logic - he does not feel comforted by holding on to the idea that there is a greater power controlling what we do and what will happen. In Christopher's world, if there were a greater power controlling things then he would not have the free will that he is confident he has. This endows Christopher, and each character, with their own individuality.