Individualism describes the habit of being independent and self-reliant. In both The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Call of the Wild, the main characters display the habit of individualism. Christopher takes himself from his home in Swindon to London. Buck travels from Santa Clara Valley, California to Canada. Both characters take their trips alone. In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the reader sees not only the theme of curiosity that the title suggests. We also see incredible reserves of individuality. The story opens with Christopher wandering the streets alone at night despite the fact that his father lives with him. Christopher’s solitude is not because his father does not care. Instead, it is because he enjoys being alone. Indeed, he is a very independent person.
It is known but never stated, that Christopher is incredibly smart, but not without his challenges. Many times throughout the book, Christopher states that he is the only one to ever take A level math. In addition, Christopher is often unsure how to react to certain situations. In one particular situation, he can see his dad is sad. In response, Christopher does what he likes best when he is sad. He simply leaves his dad alone. “I decided to leave him alone because when I am sad I want to be left alone.” (Haddon, 21) The theme of individualism is presented many times throughout the story specifically when Christopher wishes to be alone.In The Call of the Wild, Buck travels around with different owners. Regardless of who Buck travels with, he is alone. He is an individual. It is his journey, against the difficulties of the world he confronts. In many ways, his story is an ode to individualism.
Buck begins the story living in his perfect world. At this point in the story, Buck is so used to relying on his owner that he is a trusting dog. “He learned to trust the men he knew...”(London, 5) After this, Buck is placed in a train and sent away, alone. He reflects on his life and realizes he may never have someone to receive orders from any longer. The book concludes by “sending” Buck off to the wild. He runs alone as the individual dog and runs with species of all kinds. We only read about Buck for a portion of his life, but all throughout this time Buck remains by himself. He grows as an individual throughout this time. The main characters in these stories have many similarities. We begin both of the books with our main characters, Christopher and Buck, living a perfect life with their perfect owners or dads. Each lives in a content state of being. Each is able to be alone at times, but still has someone to call them to dinner. This all changes very suddenly for Buck and Christopher, as each is separated from his master. Anyone can be alone.
But, Buck and Christopher each own their alone time and they manage to show great bravery. Reflecting on Buck’s situation, Jack London observes '[h]e was beaten (he knew that); but he was not broken.” After reading both The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Call of the Wild, the theme of individualism stands out above all others. We see Christopher wandering the streets, taking A-level math and traveling to London alone. We read about Buck learns to stop trusting the men he is with, traveling from different owners and eventually running into the wildHe does all of these actions alone. These books show us a theme of Individualism as we read about the lessons learned and challenges faced as our main characters individually travel.