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June 2, 2012 / amess02

How My Mind Works: A look into Point of View

The protagonist of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is Christopher, a teenage boy straddling the autistic spectrum. The story itself is revealed through the narrative point of view of young Christopher- not necessarily every reader’s cup of tea as we are given a view of the world through his logic-driven eyes.

His calculated narration is particularly helpful when trying to convey fairly complex problems, Christopher uses statistical knowledge, visual representation and mathematical solutions. The range of solutions allows people to gain a richer understanding as well as being able to choose a version that they are most likely to understand. A great example is how he explains the The Monty Hall Problem.

We are told the story of Marilyn vos Savant, a woman with the highest IQ that solved problems sent in via a magazine column. One problem involved having three doors, one in which had a car behind it that you could win and the other two had goats. Marilyn states that one should always pick the last door as the chances were much higher in winning the car- a statement that was highly criticized by the mathematical community.

Christopher goes on to explain that she is in fact true, providing two solutions, shown here: monty hall problem.
Each version appeals to a different audience, one who works with a more mathematical mind and one who responds better to a more visual-based method.
Christopher’s point of view comes off as logical and well thought out. The idea that he is autistic allows the reader to accept his point of view because it seems more objective.

Personally I respond to more visual cues but I appreciate his manner of appealing to two types of people, it definitely validates his opinion.

The fact that he is on the autistic spectrum anchors his reasoning more for the reader as we are shown how he deals with the confusion of the world through his eyes.

It isn’t necessarily a book I would read and enjoy however I can appreciate the unique point of view.

Reference: Haddon, M. (2004). The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (pp 78- 82). London: Red Fox.

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7 Comments

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  1. fullclever / Jun 4 2012 10:40 am

    Hi, amess02
    I agree with you. The unique style explored by the author is really interesting. I found it especially rich because he helps us to understand how Christopher might think rather than what he was thinking.
    The different points of view are also important because the writer cares the responsibility of promoting an understanding between the different audiences. Actually, this is what the Science Writing aims. Is not it?
    Cheers

  2. kellyfitzsimons1 / Jun 7 2012 7:06 am

    Personally I loved the narration style. I agree that it is different and sometimes disjointed from what we are familiar with but it provides us with a sense of how Christopher acts and behaves. The different explanations of the monty hall problem not only provides the mathematical logic behind the topic it also permits the readers to gain an understanding as well. This is important as it allows the reader to feel connected to the story as they can understand what is being said. Like you, amess02, I also found the visual explanation easier to understand.

    Fullclever, you raise a very important concept that science writing aims to educate a wide range of audiences through the use of different points of view.

    The blog title was informative but I think you could have made it more catchy and memorial. Also, some of your sentences could be re-structured to make the blog flow better. However, I liked how you incorporated the word document on the Monty Hall problem.

    Overall, well done on an interesting blog and Happy Studying for exams! 🙂

  3. chimk / Jun 7 2012 7:19 am

    It wasn’t the kind of the book that i will enjoy reading as well, but the interesting part of the article is two way of solving the monty hall problem. I would believe some people will better understand things mathematically while other will appreciate visual presentation, it all depends on whats easier for you to understand.
    Haddock presented the two scenario differently having in mind the differences we have in appreciating or understanding things, however a common understanding need to be achieved.

  4. maria93 / Jun 8 2012 9:05 am

    I thought that the author successfully provided the reader with an insight into how Christopher sees the world, which is a mathematical and logical point of view.

    I agree with Chimk that some people understand a mathematical explanation better than a visual one and vice versa. Being presented with both lets the reader appreciate the different points of view even if there is preference for one over the other.

  5. Paran23 / Jun 8 2012 2:55 pm

    Author tried to explain statistical puzzle through his visual ideas. He also explained that mathematics questions always don’t have only one answer. The book was written in a different writing style. There are different styles in writing whether it is our cup of tea or not, Sara, you have summarised well the salient points of those chapters. I assume this is the last blogging for this semester.

  6. amess02 / Jun 8 2012 3:09 pm

    It would be really interesting to see who reacts better to the visual cues or the purely mathematical solution, It’s wonderful how these different perceptions have been addressed through the narration style. I agree with fullclever that science writing aims to convey different perceptions in order to reach a greater audience’s understanding, as shown in this book. I also like your point Paran23, I never quite thought that he was also relaying that mathematics doesn’t always have one way of solving a problem, thanks for bringing in an even richer understanding :). And to answer your question, I believe this is this last of the blogging. Good Luck with Exams everyone :).

  7. elenav90 / Jun 9 2012 9:40 am

    Actually I thought your title was good, it’s pretty informative, although it took a little interpretation (the expression isn’t too straightforward). You could have impressed us with an interesting visual, though. Your post wasn’t coherently well structured – three paragraphs, then a series of sentences :/ but I guess if you wrote it in the busy last few weeks of semester it’s kind of understandable.
    Interesting topic, though, regarding the significance of how to explain the same concept to different-minded people!

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