Chapter 5

We're back to the original dog scene. The police get there, and Christopher tells us why he likes them:

They have uniforms and numbers and you know what they are meant to be doing.

That's a strange reason. I understand the point being made here -- he values order and numbers very highly, almost as if they were part of a moral code -- but it rings false. I know what it is to value order, to compulsively straighten stacks of paper or to become irrationally irritated by prime number chapters; but I do not value it to the exclusion of morality and common sense. If he were a black American in chronic danger of getting pulled over or shot for no good reason, would he still like the police?

Even Spock wouldn't like him. His obsession with superficial orderliness is illogical.

There was a policewoman and a policeman. The policewoman had a little hole in her tights on her left ankle and a red scratch in the middle of the hole.

Why is she wearing tights instead of a proper uniform?

The policeman had a big orange leaf stuck to the bottom of his shoe which was poking out from one side.

Do I care?

The policewoman put her arms round Mrs. Shears and led her back toward the house.

Of course the woman is being comforting.

Christopher lifts his head off the grass, since apparently he's been scrunched up on the ground ever since the third chapter. I don't know how he saw the police officers if he had his face to the grass. ESP, maybe. The policeman squats next to him and asks him what is going on.

I sat up and said, "The dog is dead."
"I'd got that far," he said.
I said, "I think someone killed the dog."

I'm puzzled by the choice to put Christopher's dialogue tags before his dialogue. It's not wrong, but it seems odd, especially since the policeman's tags are more conventionally placed.

The policeman asks him how old he is, and he says, "I am 15 years and 3 months and 2 days". Is he trying to be impressive or what? I can't fathom anyone in his position thinking that's a sensible way to respond.

The policeman asks him what he was doing in the garden, and he says he was holding the dog. His dialogue tags are now placed after his dialogue. The policeman asks him why he was doing that, and he doesn't know what to say.

This was a difficult question. It was something I wanted to do. I like dogs. It made me sad to see that the dog was dead.

I like policemen, too, and I wanted to answer the question properly, but the policeman did not give me enough time to work out the correct answer.

I know how it feels to have trouble expressing myself, but I also don't understand why he was holding the dog.

The policeman repeats the question, and Christopher says "I like dogs". I like how he gives a stupid-sounding answer that doesn't convey his actual thoughts. I've done that. I think everyone does it.

"Did you kill the dog?" he asked.
I said, "I did not kill the dog."

I see we're back to putting his dialogue tags in front. My father sometimes answers in full sentences like that, and I probably got the Asperger's from him. I don't do it, though.

"Is this your fork?" he asked.
I said, "No."
"You seem very upset about this," he said.

Do we even need all these tags? There are only two participants in the conversation, so after the first few lines it's unnecessary.

He was asking too many questions and he was asking them too quickly.

It doesn't seem like that many from where I'm sitting.

Christopher explains that the questions are stacking up in his head like loaves of bread in his Uncle Terry's bread-slicing factory, and he goes on a digression about bread slicers and I don't care. I'm reminded of The Help where the characters say things like their heart is banging against their chest like a cat in the dryer.

The policeman says "I am going to ask you once again...", and Christopher scrunches himself up again and "[makes] the noise that Father calls groaning". I don't know why he doesn't just say he groaned.

I make this noise when there is too much information coming into my head from the outside world.

Oh come on. What's the big deal? He's just asking you a few simple questions. Try going to a party with loud music where you're expected to dance and socialize and then we can talk.

It is like when you are upset and you hold the radio against your ear and you tune it halfway between two stations so that all you get is white noise and then you turn the volume right up so that this is all you can hear and then you know you are safe because you cannot hear anything else.

That doesn't sound pleasant at all.

That's an awful lot of words in that sentence, and there's not a single punctuation mark to break the monotony. Not even a contraction. I'm partway through Twilight, and its prose is bad in almost the opposite way from TCIotDitNT. It's got too many commas and dashes, and the word choice is pretentious. The two things they have in common are sentence fragments and overlong sentences.

The overall problems with them are roughly opposite, too. In TCIotDitNT, random, plotless stuff happens to drive home the message that Christopher is different, whereas in Twilight, characters take inexplicable actions to further the plot. Bella explains to Edward in chapter 2 why she moved to Forks, and I still don't understand her reasoning. The Cullens make no effort to fit in with their shiny Volvo and conspicuously uneaten food just so Bella can notice them. Bella obsesses over Edward for no apparent reason. Even she doesn't know why she does it. She also sees an incredible amount of things in other people's eyes, and instead of burying her emotions under dry Spock prose, she blathers melodramatically. She hates math, too. She prefers classic literature. If she and Christopher ever met, they'd probably hate each other.

But I digress.

The policeman took hold of my arm and lifted me onto my feet.

I didn't like him touching me like this.

And this is when I hit him.

Another overreaction. Why doesn't he try to get away instead of resorting to violence?

< Chapter 4 | Chapter 6 >

Back home

This page was last modified on 26/06/2016 (dmy).