Chapters 131 and 137

Chapter 131

The chapter opens with Christopher explaining why he does not like the colors yellow and brown. The reasons for not liking yellow include: custard, bananas (and the fact they also turn brown), double yellow lines, yellow fever (and he gives very specific details about the disease), yellow flowers because he gets hayfever from flower pollen and it makes him feel ill, and sweet corn because you don’t digest it so that must mean you aren’t meant to eat it.

The reasons he does not like the color brown include it is the color of dirt, gravy, poo, wood (because it breaks down, will rot and sometimes has worms in it), and because it is the last name of a girl at school who tore his astronaut painting into two pieces and threw it away.

Christopher then explains that Mrs. Forbes said hating brown and yellow is “just being silly”. He acknowledges Mrs. Forbes was a bit right because it is sort of being silly but says in life you have to make decisions and it is good to have a reason for why you like some things and not others. He makes the comparison to being at a restaurant and looking at a menu and having to choose between foods even though you haven’t tasted the food. He then explains you have favorite foods you know you like and so choose from those.

Application: Christopher states his reasons for not liking these colors and it seems (to me) his impression is that it is clearly apparent based on reasoning. He gives multiple reasons why he doesn’t like these colors. His reference to that “it might be sort of silly” acknowledges that he is trying to make sense of what others have said (Mrs. Forbes) despite his own reasoning that he finds as being sound. I think of our students who have their own reasoning behind certain thoughts and their attempt to balance this with what others have told them.

Chapter 137

This chapter opens with Christopher stating his father apologized for hitting him and that he cleaned it to make sure it wasn’t infected. Christopher states they are going on an expedition since it is Saturday and so that his father can show him that he is properly sorry. They are going to the zoo and his father made him sandwiches to eat since he knows Christopher doesn’t like eating from places he doesn’t know. Although they are going on a Saturday, his father doesn’t think it will be busy since it is forecasted to rain. Christopher mentions he doesn’t like crowds and does like when it is raining. He had never been to this zoo and so states he didn’t have a picture of it in his head. They bought a guidebook and Christopher than lists his favorite animals (included a spider monkey, the Patagonian sea lions, and an orangutan. While at the café eating, his father tell Christopher that he loves him very much, worries about him, and doesn’t want to see him getting hurt. His dad asks Christopher if he knows he loves him and Christopher says yes and gives reasons that make sense to him of how he knows this. The place their hands and fingers together, go look at the giraffes and then went home before the roads got busy.

In this chapter, Christopher’s father seems to try and make up for his behavior in a way Christopher may understand better than just using words but also perhaps to make himself feel better and try to rid himself of guilt for hitting Christopher. This makes me think of all the parents of the students I see and their efforts to try and communicate with their children in the way they seem to understand best. I think this chapter illustrates how Christopher’s father is dealing with the stress of parenting a child with a disability alone as well as brings about how Christopher has difficulty with expressing how he feels about his father’s actions.

–Sarah Niemann


3 thoughts on “Chapters 131 and 137

  1. Holly Hamill says:

    The fact that Christopher can verbalize about why he doesn’t like yellow and brown things is very helpful. Unlike many of the students I serve at school. I realize that they do not like or prefer certain things, however, they are unable to explain why.

  2. Pam Schmit says:

    Reading this just helps me think about so many different ways of looking at the world. We have no idea how our autistic students are perceiving different actions. Christopher dislikes certain colors for a variety of reasons, he likes specific animals for his own reasons. His reasons seem odd and unusual to me, but he probably thinks other people basically feel the same way. (Don’t we all?) How rich it would be if our autistic students could really express their thoughts and feelings.
    I thought it was notable that after his dad used so many words to say that he loses his temper, shouts, worries about Christopher getting into trouble, etc., he asked Christopher if he understood and Christopher really didn’t know whether he understood. He didn’t just “yes” him through it out of empathy, he expressed that he didn’t know. So Dad went back to a more basic question about love, and Christopher had a reference point for that.

  3. Amanda says:

    I was interested to read Christopher’s explanation of why he likes or doesn’t like certain things. He was able to verbalize the WHY and identify that others might find it silly. He’s OK with that.
    I was also interested in his definition of love and how he knows his dad loves him. Very straightforward and based on facts, not emotions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s