In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, the author shows that Christopher not only knows that he is different, but that he wants to be ‘normal’. Christopher has autism, and because of his difficulty interacting with people he is often seen as strange. In pages 198-200, Christopher describes one of his favorite dreams. Mark Haddon uses this opportunity to describe, from Christopher’s point of view, the world that Christopher wishes he lived in. Christopher realizes that he is different from other people, and he wishes he lived in a world where he was normal. But he doesn’t wish that he was like everyone else, he wishes that the only other people in the world are people like him, with autism. In the dream, almost everyone on earth is dead from a computer virus, and the only ones that survived are autistic people. “And eventually there is no one left in the world except people who don’t look at other people’s faces and who don’t know what these pictures mean (Haddon includes here several pictures of faces expressing different emotions) and these people are all special people like me.” (p. 198-199). In this quote, we see that Christopher would like to be normal by having everyone else be like him.
Christopher likes to be alone, and in his dream he describes the kind of world where he could be alone all the time. In some ways, this dream is very similar to his dream to go to the bottom of the ocean in a tiny submarine all to himself. “And I imagine that I am the only person inside it, and that it is not connected to a ship at all but can operate under its own power and I can control the motors and move anywhere I want to on the seabed and I can never be found.” (p. 80). Christopher likes being alone because when he is alone he isn’t seen as weird or strange, because he is the only one there. He also likes being alone because he is often afraid of strangers and Mark Haddon has said that this novel is about breaking past restrictions and being free. In Christopher’s dream, we see that he would like to have no restrictions on what he can and cannot do. He would like to do things he finds fun, like being alone and standing on the roof.
But he would also like to be able to do what he wants with his life. “And I can go anywhere in the world and I know that no one is going to talk to me or touch me or ask me a question. But if I don’t want to go anywhere I don’t have to, and I can stay at home and eat broccoli and oranges and licorice laces all the time, or I can play computer games for a whole week, or I can just sit in the corner of the room and rub a 1 pound coin back and forward over the ripple shapes on the surface of the radiator. And I wouldn’t have to go to France.” (p. 199). Christopher is held back every day because he is different, and in his dream we see his inner desire to be free of his restrictions. Christopher’s dream represents a lot of Christopher’s desires and hopes, and says a lot about who he is. In his dream he is normal, and he gets to be alone, and he can be free of all his restrictions that come from being different. In the dream, Christopher is happy because he no longer faces the problems he does in his life, and he can be whatever he wants to be.