Montoro, Rocio and Gill, David (2005) Curious narrators, curious mathematics and curious representations: a critical Text World Theory analysis of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. In: PALA Conference 2005, 18-23 July 2005, University of Huddersfield.
Abstract

The international success of Mark Haddon’s best-selling book significantly relies on reader sympathy and empathy towards the narrator. Haddon constructs this sympathy through a range of ingenious narrative techniques, and Chapter ‘101’ of the book and its presentation of the famous mathematical conundrum ‘The Monty Hall Problem’ is typical of this. However, by means of a discourse analysis of both the linguistic codes and the mathematical codes in this chapter, we shall argue that Haddon’s narrator misleads many readers into thinking that he is presenting logical argument when in fact he is really manipulating readers and directing them to the conclusions he wants them to draw.
Our analysis will draw upon a range of Textual Intervention techniques and other tools of discourse analysis, particularly the notion that story worlds often constitute a conflation of fictional world and ‘actual world’ - in Text World Theory terms, a seamless mixing or blending of Text World with Discourse World.1 We shall also argue that ‘manipulation’ in this case is partly a matter of the conflation of Text and Discourse Worlds with ‘World-switches’ and ‘Modal worlds’.
Haddon’s book is partly framed as a ‘Murder Mystery’: in chapter 101 the author/narrator ‘murders’ the reputations of Math professors around the world. Not only will our investigation uncover the modus operundi of this foul yet ingenious serial-killer, we shall also resurrect the victims!

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