The Call of the Wild

Jack London

Characters:

Buck - He is half St. Bernard and half sheepdog. Later on in his life he is stolen from an estate in California to be sold as a sled dog in the Arctic. Slowly but surely Buck has to evolve from a spoiled house pet to a rough animal, who needs to be able to hold his own in the cruel world of the North. Even though he loves his master John Thornton, the wild is constantly calling him away from society to bring him back to his original roots.

Judge Miller - Buck’s original master, and owner of a large estate in California.

Manuel - A gardener on Judge Millers estate. He kidnaps Buck and sells him in order to pay off his debts from gambling.

John Thornton - Bucks master. Very experienced gold hunter. He saves Buck from death, and Buck repays him with extreme loyalty. Thorton and Bucks relationship is the typical man-dog relationship... They both are there for one another and are loyal to eachother. Their bond is strong enough to keep Buck from going into the wild.

Spitz - Bucks enemy and original leader of Francois dog team. Spitz is an extremely rough animal. He is used to fighting with other dogs and he always wins.. He fights for life and doesn't care what's right and wrong.

Francois and Perrault - French Canadians who turn Buck into a sled dog for the Canadian government.

Hal - American gold seeker. Comes to Canada with his sister, Mercedes, and her husband, Charles. They come looking for adventure and riches. The three of them buy Buck and his team. They are all extremely inexperienced and terrible masters. They run out of food mid-journey and constantly argue. Ths three of them represent the weakness of over privileged men and to show the man-dog relationship at its lowest point.

Dave - A dog on Bucks team. He becomes ill on one of the teams journeys but refuses to leave the harness. Dave is an example of sacrifice and determination.

Plot:

Buck, a dog who is kidnapped and taken up north to work as a sled dog, as he journeys through the Yukon Territory. The harsh natural conditions play a crucial role in how Buck changes throughout the story.

Theme: Loyalty

In The Call of the Wild, loyalty is rare but when it's seen, it is very strong. Loyalty seems to be the only option for some of these characters due to extreme circumstances. For example, Thornton saved Buck from death, and Buck is equally as loyal to him. He saves Thornton repeatedly. A big conflict in the book is whether Buck has a stronger loyalty to the wild and his own nature or to the man that has saved his life. Buck is not able to commit to his life in the wild until Thornton dies, which goes to show that his love and loyalty for the man are most likely stronger than his love and loyalty to the wild.

Key Facts:

  • POINT OF VIEW - Buck’s point of view.
SETTING - The late 1890s. California, briefly, and mainly Alaska and the Klondike region of Canada.
  • PROTAGONIST - Buck.
  • CONFLICT - Bucks struggle against his masters, and his gradual development from a tame dog into a fierce animal.
  • CLIMAX - John Thornton saving Bucks life from Hals cruelty.

Recommendation:

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good read. It is drama filled and you can't put it down! Animal lovers may feel thr story is too brutal. This is a story of survival, which displays a great deal of brutality toward dogs. Dogs fight each other to their death. Buck, the main character, is often beaten, once almost to death. Ultimately, this is a story of loyalty and leadership that I would greatly recommend.






By Alyssa Korkidis