Skip to main content
Login | Suomeksi | På svenska | In English

Browsing by Author "Ismaili, Nedime"

Sort by: Order: Results:

  • Ismaili, Nedime (2023)
    In this thesis I analyze how a neurotypical reader can feel empathetic towards neurodivergent characters. Additionally, I will argue that the first-person narration in Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time encourages empathy towards the main character by bringing the reader closer to the protagonist, who is also the narrator of the story. I start my thesis with the definition of narrative empathy and analyze the novel from that perspective. In addition, since representing neurodivergent characters can cause further stigmatization and harm, I will discuss some ethical questions that underlie Curious Incident. I use Phelan’s narrative communication model to portray the interplay between audiences and authors and apply the model to Curious Incident. With the help of the model, I argue that Christopher, the protagonist, is both the narrator and the narratee of his own story and that his story reads like a journal rather than an ordinary novel. Furthermore, I claim that the first-person perspective together with the journal-likeness of the novel brings the reader closer to the protagonist, eliciting empathy towards him. Additionally, I pose some ethical questions about the underlying problems of representing a neurodivergent character and also pose questions towards the readers about their ethical responsibilities towards both the character and the author. Moreover, I note that the question whether reading makes us better people needs to be researched further with longitudinal studies for us to have concrete answers. I suggest that there is a compelling interplay between first-person narration, narrative empathy, and the ethical dimensions of representing neurodivergent characters. I believe that there is a potential for future research in these areas and further I believe that literature holds a transformative power to enrich our understanding of each other, one narrative at a time.