Irony In The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

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Irony is the use of language to signify the opposite of one’s meaning, usually to emphasize meaning or create humor. In the novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the author, Mark Haddon, uses irony to convey the mentality of Christopher, a child with Asperger's syndrome, and give the reader a deeper understanding of him and his disorder.
The format of the book and genre were specifically chosen by the author to give the reader an initial idea of how Christopher is different. Distressing settings are also used to further differentiate Christopher from the reader. To explain Christopher’s thought process, the author inserts metaphors and sarcasm in situations when he is panicking as he is unable to distinguish their meaning.
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The inability to understand jokes, metaphors, and sarcasm creates obstacles for Christopher when he attempts to communicate with strangers. This can be seen when he gets lost in a train station in London and is unable to buy an atlas as he does not understand the salesman. Christopher asks, “‘Is that the A-Z?’ and I pointed at the book. And he said, ‘No, it’s a sodding crocodile.’” (187). In this situation, Christopher is panicked by the amount of other people in his vicinity so he looks for an A-Z atlas to be able to make sense of his surroundings. The author applies sarcasm to show Christopher’s discomfort in his current surroundings as he is hindered by the wording as well as the new location. The use of double meanings to show Christopher’s panic is common throughout the novel. Moreover, when Christopher learns that his father has been lying to him, he says, “It was like the room was swinging from side to side” (112). This is ironic because he uses a simile, a type of metaphor, to describe how he feels to the reader despite claiming that they are confusing. The author is able to show the amount of pain and uncertainty Christopher is feeling in the situation through a metaphor as they confuse him as well. This is an effective use of irony to explain how Christopher feels in the situation to the reader as they are able to understand the metaphor as well as how Christopher feels about metaphors. Double meanings are found whenever Christopher finds himself in a difficult situation, leading the reader to understand that when he contradicts himself, it is because of his inability to function in the scenario. The literary devices allow the reader to draw conclusions that might not be noticed

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