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An overview of the call of the wild by jack london

When he was stolen and sold by a family servant, Buck was a young dog, just four years old. He was in his prime, a huge dog, a German Shepherd - St Bernard cross.

He'd become the lord of all he surveyed around Judge Miller's place - he was a lucky dog; born with the strength of one parent and the intelligence of the other.

But Buck's civilised life was about to come to an end, for dogs like him were in demand.

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Gold had been found in Alaska and men were rushing to find their fortunes. Dogs like Buck were desperately needed to pull the sleds in that harsh, frozen country. And Judge Miller had a servant who had not enough money and too many children to feed.

That is how Buck came to be stolen away from his pampered life and sold into the slavery of the sled dog.

  1. You could see it also as a metaphor for the way people treat each other and how quickly the rule of violence can become the norm; how easily life can become truly 'dog eat dog'.
  2. They leave Buck with Thornton. Read more Buck's Character Change in Chapter 6 713 words, approx.
  3. That is how Buck came to be stolen away from his pampered life and sold into the slavery of the sled dog. Buck loved traveling, especially now that there...
  4. He'd become the lord of all he surveyed around Judge Miller's place - he was a lucky dog; born with the strength of one parent and the intelligence of the other. You could see it also as a metaphor for the way people treat each other and how quickly the rule of violence can become the norm; how easily life can become truly 'dog eat dog'.
  5. He learns to dig under the snow for a warm place to sleep and to keep the traces clear and thus make pulling easier.

Buck learns hard lessons but, thanks to his intelligence, he learns fast. He learns not only how cruel is the Alaskan territory, and how hard is the life of a sled dog but he also learns how cruel and hard man, and other dogs, can be.

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His first lesson is dealt by the man in the red sweater, the man with the club. His second is dealt by Spitz, the lead dog of the sled team who kills the first friend he has made.

There is so much Buck has to learn: But he learns all his lessons well and eventually becomes the leader of the team. The sheer hard work and effort of his snowy journeys seem never-ending. But all the while experience and the ancient wilderness of his surrounding are awakening something in Buck; something old, something unrecognised, but something natural and instinctive.

Often, as he lies by the camp fire, he dreams. He dreams of a man from the past, a man who wears skins, a man who lives in similar fear of constant danger. Some of these passages in The Call of the Wild, the ones where the long-ago animal, the old ways, the natural instinct slowly and surely grow in influence over Buck, the once indulged family pet, are absolutely beautiful. Buck longs for something but he knows not what. Of course, you could see all this as a simple story of adventure: Buck and his team deliver the dispatches in record time.

You could see it also as a metaphor for the way people treat each other and how quickly the rule of violence can become the norm; how easily life can become truly 'dog eat dog'. In The Call of the Wild that's not a pun and nor did Jack London intend it to be - in the Alaskan wilderness, as in life, the doctrine of survival of the fittest oftentimes becomes sadly too true.

One of the things I like best about Jack London and The Call of the Wild now, as an adult, is the lack of condescension in the book's vocabulary.

The Call of the Wild

Babies learn to talk by listening: They pick up meaning gradually and, little by little, they learn to translate that meaning into speech of their own. Call of the Wild is a children's book really, although many have said that it's suitable for adults too, and it is.

But largely, it's an adventure story for children with some strong messages about the way people should treat animals, the way people should treat each other, about nature, about instinct, and about social structure and the abuse of power.

  1. And Judge Miller had a servant who had not enough money and too many children to feed.
  2. Buck longs for something but he knows not what. In his primitive mind, Buck begins to see a hairy man who hunts with a club.
  3. His first lesson is dealt by the man in the red sweater, the man with the club.
  4. Once each year, Buck returns to the river where Thornton died. In Dawson, Buck wins more than a thousand dollars for Thornton on a wager, when the dog breaks loose a sled carrying a thousand-pound load from the ice.
  5. After that, Buck refuses to be harnessed until he is given the lead position.

I reckon you should put The Call of the Wild on your list. It's such a lovely story; one of those you remember from childhood, one of the ones you get all sniffly over when you read it again. It's also great to read aloud because the strong, fast-moving story fairly carries you along, and your children with you. I hope this book will teach its readers to treat their animals right, to treat each other and everybody else right, and to continue to prove to me that a finely-crafted story, like The Call of the Wild, one told straight from the heart, is something to treasure for a lifetime.

The Call of the Wild Summary

If you're looking for a man and beast adventure story for slightly younger readers, try our review of The Last Wolf by Michael Morpurgo.