This is a story written by a teenage boy called Christopher John Francis Boone. He doesn’t see the world in quite the same way as you do. He doesn’t tell a story in quite the way you might be used to a story being told.
The things that happen to Christopher happen to many people; in that way his story is not extraordinary. What is extraordinary is the difficulties he faces dealing with these things, and the way he overcomes his difficulties.
That’s what we need to understand about Christopher and the story he tells. He is our narrator, and we see the events of the story through his eyes. But to understand our story we need to understand our narrator; we need to understand why he sees the world as he does.
Christopher is autistic. What does this mean?
Spend a lesson researching the word: what it means, and what others perceive it to mean.
In groups, research how autism might impact on the following topics:
- Mathematics (specifically the orderliness of certain types of calculations and numerical sequences)
- detective fiction (e.g. Sherlock Holmes)
- personal relationships
- emotional response to cheering or upsetting situations
- logical and abstract thought
Your group will be the ‘experts’ in each topic. You will share your knowledge with the class in the form of a group presentation with Keynotes that can later be uploaded here for everyone to reference.
As you are reading, follow the questions in the document below.
These questions are a mixture of questions designed to help you piece together the main plot developments, but also questions asking you for details of characters, their motives and feelings. Some questions also ask you to think about the way the story itself is told.
All these questions should be answered in your notebook. The answers will all be important in some way in the assessments to follow.
As you are reading you should also be aware of some of the issues that could turn into essay topics. The document below contains some ideas.
Finally, here is the author, Mark Haddon, talking about the book.
Task 1: Socratic Seminar
Below are the instructions for this seminar. The procedure will be the same as for ‘The Crucible’.
This will be an assessed activity. The document below contains the assessment criteria (also the same as for ‘The Crucible’). Pay attention to these – especially those of you whose grade in the previous Socratic Seminar suffered through lack of participation. This is your chance to show what you can do!
Watch Veracross for dates. You will have the previous lesson in which to prepare your notes.
Task 2: Essay
The final task for this unit will be an essay. The topic will be given to you prior to the day on which you will write the essay. You will then have one lesson in which to prepare. Watch Veracross for dates.
What are the similarities between this and ‘Lord of the Flies’ from Grade 9? Also, if you end up taking DP Language & Literature, you will eventually read the most famous teenage novel of them all: ‘Catcher in the Rye’.
If you liked this, you might like the following books about children caught up in a harsh adult world:
And this recent film:
That is the end of this unit. Please leave any comments below.