Christopher's Representation Of Autism In Pop Culture

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Representations of autism in pop culture has a tendency to polarize the wide range of experience and qualities of people on the autism spectrum into a small box of stereotypical traits: computer-like, rational yet not always comprehensive, introverted, easily frustrated, and/or a savant. In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon presents his readers a detective fiction novel narrated by 15-year-old Christopher Boone, who described himself to have "behavioral problems" (46 Haddon). Despite Haddon 's claims that his novel was not intended to represent Autism Spectrum Disorder, Christopher 's traits fulfill so many autism stereotypes that his original intent is irrelevant; Christopher is almost a living breathing autism…show more content…
As detailed by Quirici, the savant is a societal idea that is based on stereotypical representation of autism rather than an "empirical medical phenomenon" (71 Quirici). This trope of the savant presents an individual with autism that has extraordinary abilities, often related to mathematics or a similar logic-based area. The representation of this trope is incredibly damaging as it creates expectations of people with autism that are ultimately isolating in terms of othering and dehumanizing (71 Quirici). Neurotypical people who come into contact with these representations are more likely to have preconceived notions of autism and subsequently have unrealistic expectations of their autistic peers. Furthermore, talents that a person with autism might have are more likely to be credited to their autism rather than to their own talent or hard work (71 Qurici). Christopher is described to have talents that fit into the savant trope, and additionally attempts to distinguish himself from his peers, who are also in special education, stating "I am not a spazzer [...] not like Francis, who is a spazzer," (26 Haddon) and "All the other children at my school are stupid," (43 Haddon). Quirici emphasizes that the neurotypical society 's fascination with the spectacle of savants is a way of "redeeming" autism to neurotypical people (71 Quirici). Haddon attempts to redeem Christopher 's autism, which he depicts as a nuisance, through his accompanying abilities. He attempts to allow the reader to empathize with Christopher not through a realistic depiction of autism, but through offering his extraordinary abilities as a value that is meant to outweigh how his autism is treated as an obstacle in this
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