The Call of the Wild

Jack London

Character Analysis- Buck

Buck is a mixed breed of sheepdog and St.Bernard. He was a farm dog in California that was stolen from his family and sold to become a sleg dog in the Artic. Buck is given human traits such as love, wonder, shame, and most important, anger. Buck feels a sense of attachment and belonging to some of his masters. He hates the masters who beat him, and loves his last master, John Thorton, who saves Buck from being beaten to death by Hal. Buck displays a sense of wonder in the wild where he is curious about the sights and sounds of the forest and the towns where they trade. Shame is expressed when Buck loses his first fight against Spitz, the lead sled dog. As Buck spends more time with the sled dogs, he also learns the laws of the wild, as he learns how to fight and hunt, and he is able to take down a moose that he hunts. Lastly, Buck's transformation into a truly wild animal happens when he brutally slaughters the Yeehat Indian tribe that kill John Thornton and all of his friends. Then he becomes the leader of the wolf pack and a legend in the area.

The Impact of the Setting

The differents settings have a very significant impact on Buck, who undergoes many important changes during the course of the book. He begins in a town as a kind, domesticated farm dog who is an important member of Judge Miller's family. By the end of the book, after years in the wild, Buck becomes the dominant primordial beast who is a killing machine. He learns that the wild is a cruel place, where animals are either hunted or hunter, and embraces his wild animal instincts. Buck decides that he wants to be in the hunter category and quickly adapts to the Survival of the Fittest mentality to survive. A strong example of this is when he has a showdown with Spitz. Buck knows that this fight will result in a casualty, and decides that he will do whatever he has to do to live another day. A combination of brute strength and a predator's mentality helps Buck to be triumphant.

Characterization- Spitz

Spitz is a husky and the lead sled dog. He is a very mean, aggresive dog and instigates many fights. Spitz's nickname was "the devil" because he picks fights with weaker dogs, knowing he will beat or kill them. He does this just to prove he is the best, but his arrogant and selfish attitude will later lead to his demise. For example, Spitz constantly bullies Buck throughout the book. But, with every fight, Buck becomes a little more angry, strong and smart. Finally, Spitz and Buck get in one last fight, which ends with Spitz dead and Buck the winner. This allows Buck to become the main sled dog, as Spitz's overconfident personality ultimately leads to his downfall.

Book Recommendation

The Call of the Wild by Jack London is a very well written book that makes the reader want to keep reading. It is a compelling story with an extraordinary amount of detail, so much so that the reader will feel like they are Buck. When I read the fight scenes, I felt like I was in the middle of the battle between the opposing sled dogs or other animals. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading the following genres: nature stories, competition, action and adventure tales. This book captures the real feeling of how animals could transform from tame to wild due to their surroundings. I look forward to reading more books written by Jack London.