Analysis of the Call of the Wild by Jack London Essay

The book I selected to read during this semester is the literary classic The Call of the Wild, a 1903 novel by award-winning author Jack London. I chose to read this story because it is a classic novel and the heroic tone of the novel appealed to me. The novel tells of an initially pampered dog, Buck, and the progression of his tendency to revert to the inner instincts of fierce violence and extreme competition instilled in him. In the process, Buck goes through several different masters before finally landing with the right one. The Call of the Wild is made interesting by the literary devices used in the novel, the simple and robust tone used by London, and the process that the protagonist Buck undergoes in reverting back to his instincts of surviving in nature within him, being “called to the wild.”

Firstly, the story begins at a large estate at which Buck resides, owned by a wealthy judge, Judge Miller, in the Santa-Clara Valley. The gardener at the estate, Manuel, kidnaps Buck and sells him off to become a sled dog. Buck is sold to become a part of Charles and Hal’s team, two inexperienced sled drivers who are out for the sole purpose of making a profit. Instead of caring for their animals, the two owners mistreat the dogs, beating them and malnourishing them. This depicts the unfavorable form of relationship between man and dog, but in turn teaches Buck how to survive in the wilderness by scrapping for food and taking up for himself. This contrasts to Buck’s life at Miller’s estate. This idea of the differences of morality between civilization and the wilderness recurs frequently throughout the story and is one of the principal motifs in the story.

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Moreover, as time passes, Buck forms a violent rivalry with the lead …

…n to kill things by chemically propelled leaden bullets, the blood lust, the joy to kill — all this was Buck’s, only it was infinitely more intimate. He was ranging at the head of the pack, running the wild thing down, the living meat, to kill with how own teeth and wash his muzzle to the eyes in warm blood.” This helps classify Buck as a dynamic character, one whose beliefs or characteristics change through the course of the story. By the end of the novel, Buck is fully untamed, and leads a pack of wolves. This shows the reader that the transformation is complete and that he has been “called to the wild.”

In conclusion, The Call of the Wild is made interesting by its abundance of literary devices, distinct tone, and characteristic progression of Buck. I recommend this novel for everyone, but in particular people who have an obsession with dogs and the wilderness.


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