Question ‘Christopher survives because of simple acts of love and kindness from those around him, and his ability to take on challenges.’
Throughout the novel it is made clear that Christopher survives due to the love and kindness supplied by the people around him. These selfless people devote their love and compassion despite the difficulties they face whilst doing so. Ed Boone and Siobahn are great examples of the people who understand and care for the 15 year old Christopher. Aside from love and support Christopher also has a photographic memory and the ability to solve problems at hand. All of these things help Christopher as he faces obstacles on his way to London.
Christopher survives due to the love and support he receives from his father, Ed Boone. Starting from an early age Ed takes care of Christopher as he main priority. Ed provides for him and puts up with his tantrums although he doesn’t receive any affection in return. Even after Christopher goes to his mother in London, Ed is unwilling to give up loving his son. ‘I don’t care how long it takes … this is more important than anything else.’ Doing all of the above and not expecting anything in return goes to show how much Ed cares about Christopher. Imagine where Christopher would be without Ed’s love and support.
Whilst on his journey to London, Christopher has to call upon his photographic memory in order to reach his destination. Having a photographic memory is a common symptom that comes with having Asperger’s Syndrome. This positive symptom helps him remember everything that he sees. For example on page 173 Christopher states the following ‘Can I concentrate really hard on making a picture of the town in my head.’ This indicates that Christopher had to use his photographic memory in order to increase his chances of finding his mother. It is also possible that he wouldn’t have found his mother without his photographic memory.
During the course of the novel Christopher displays a few abnormal behaviours that are related to his condition, but they do not limit him when it comes to achieving his goals. Christopher knew that if he was going to find his mother he would have to overcome a few obstacles even if it meant talking to strangers or leaving his street. He conquered both aspects of his condition. When trying to reach the train station he approached a woman to ask for directions ‘Where can I buy a map?’ While talking to the lady Christopher had a Swiss army knife ready to pounce if the lady became a danger. By talking to a stranger Christopher shows that his is willing to take on challengers that he would normally discard or shy away from. Overcoming his fears helps Christopher develop as a person.
Reading and understanding emotions is also another one of Christopher’s troubles. He cannot understand through facial expression whether people are upset or happy. He is also emotionally detached from those around him, meaning he can’t be touched by anyone. From a young age, those who cared for Christopher had to hold out their hands in front of his. This gesture of holding out hands took the place of a hug in the Boone household. ‘He held out his right hand and stretched his fingers out in a fan… he made our fingers and thumbs touch each other. We do this because sometimes father wants to give a hug … it means he loves me. ‘ (page 21). Notice how Christopher doesn’t say, we love each other. This is because he doesn’t understand what love is as his Asberger’s Syndrome doesn’t allow him to do so. However, his father understands its importance.
From Swindon to London may be a short and mundane journey for some people but for Christopher it’s a long journey filled with various life lessons. Having taken on a few challenges and succeeded, Christopher is willing and determined to follow his dreams of going to university to try to achieve a first class honours degree in science. He also wants to live in a flat by himself. Because of his love and devotion given by the caring people in his life, Christopher becomes brave and more independent. Isn’t it amazing what people can achieve when they have support from those around them.