The Call Of The Wild

By Jack London

The story of The Call of the Wild by Jack London is an adventurous tale of a dog named Buck who undergoes a change of a life time.
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In the beginning, Buck, the main protagonist in The Call of the Wild, is a powerful, pampered, half St. Bernard, half Scotch shepherd. He lives a fine life in the house of Judge Miller. "A big house in the sun-skinned Santa Clara Valley", -pg. 2. And while living in the Judge's house, he lived a pampered life with Judge Miller, and his family. Although, the story ends with Buck becoming a wild beast. In between, he goes through an experience like no other from his change from a pampered prince to a wild beast.
Buck life begins to change when Manuel, a gardener of Judge Miller, kidnaps and sells Buck in order to pay off gambling debts. After he is kidnapped, he is beaten and sold off as a sled dog up north. He ends up becoming a sled dog for a French Canadian mail driver named Francois. Buck the experiences a long journey in the freezing north with other sled dogs on Francois' team. For example, of of the dogs, Dave, is a strong-willed dog who ends up becoming ill on the journey. Although his illness becomes much worse as the journey goes on, he refuses to leave his team, showing his heart of determination. Then there's Curly, who befriends Buck during their journey. After trying to be nice to a husky, Curly is killed. This gives buck a good idea of how harsh is new home can be.

Towards the end of his journey, an American gold seeker named Hal, along with his spoiled sister Mercades and her husband Charles buy Buck from the team. Although, them being inexperienced dog masters, they end up running out of food and start to argue with each other.

Later, before Buck is beaten to death by Hal, he is saved by a gold prospector named John Thorton, who becomes Buck's last master. Unlike his previous owners, John and Buck are a perfect example of the ideal man-dog relationship. They both have each other's back. For example, John saved Buck from Hal, then Buck later saves John from drowning. Jack London shows how John is much more of a brotherly figure to Buck than a master. This bond continues to be strong, up until when John dies is the bond begins to weaken. But despite his death, Buck still returns to John's home every now and then. Jack London really describes Buck's relationship with John as a primitive friendship rather than a civilized one. Although John has died, their relation was strong, and Buck remembers him even as he becomes wild and leaves civilization.

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Theme and Setting

There is only one theme for The Call of the Wild that can advance the plot of the story. Survival of the fittest, which explains that the one group that is more suited to an environment will have the best chance of survival. Although in the novel, survival of the fittest, isn't learning how to adapt, it was the luck of genetics. Even though Buck was not use to a wild life, he was genetically more adapted than any other dog in the story. Due to his genetic material, if Buck was still in Santa Clara, it would be difficult for him to find a suitable mate. At the end of the story, it says " the years were not many when the Yeehats noted a change in the breed of timber wolves; for some were seen with splashes of brown on their head and muzzle, and with a rift of white centered down the chest." This explains how Buck had many children, children that inherited from Buck, fitness and experience of their ancestors.

The setting of the story really helps advance the plot of the story, because just like Buck's life, the setting changes throughout the story. It first begins in sunny Santa Clara, California, then after Buck is kidnapped, changes to the freezing north. The setting helps a reader understand the massive change Buck experiences. Buck, being so use to a sunny and happy life in California, is shipped toe the freezing weather of the north. As Buck learns to survive in the freezing environment, he then discovers the insticts of his ancestors, and in time, he responds to the call of the wild.


Jack London's The Call of the Wild is a very well entertaining and adventurous novel for all adults young and old. Due to the violence brought to the dogs in the story, it would be recommended for young children. It can definitely be recommended for those who wonder what's it like living in the shoes of a dog. This book can also show readers the cruelty of humans towards animals, but it can also show the close bonding of man and a man's best friend. Then again, for brutality and violence, this book should only be recommended to those older than age 13. Overall though, very wonderful and t=interesting novel.