Monday, December 19, 2011

The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild

Jack London

About the Author: (GoodReads)
Jack London was an American novelist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. Because of early financial difficulties, he was largely self educated past grammar school. 
London draws heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent time in the Klondike during the Gold Rush and at various times was an oyster pirate, a seaman, a sealer, and a hobo. His first work was published in 1898. From there he went on to write such American classics as Call of the Wild, Sea Wolf, and White Fang. 

Summary: (GoodReads)
An unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, is forcibly taken to Alaska where he eventually becomes leader of a wolf pack.

I'd Recommend to...
English students

My Rating:

My Thoughts:
In The Call of the Wild, Buck is the main character. Buck is a 140 pound St. Bernard / Scottish Shepard dog mix. In the beginning of the book, Buck lived in the Santa Clara Valley, not having to do anything he didn't want to. He was 'head-dog' of his grand, royal, comfortable life and he was living life and enjoying every minute of it. But when his greedy gardener cannot pay his gambling wages, Buck is secretly sold to Canadian mail carriers in the Arctic. Buck is forced to become a sled dog. He is a quick learner and is soon living the way the Huskies do. His instincts start to kick in. He fights, kills, and becomes alpha in his team. Soon the instincts get too strong and when he finds his masters dead, after killing the Indians responsible, goes off to join a local pack of wolves.
This novel is all about adaptation and accepting change, which is why the theme of this is "Adapting to change is a necessary key to survival". Buck is taken to a completely new terrain where absolutely nothing is even remotely similar to his previous life as a pet. He learns quickly though, and he needs to. Several times Buck would have been killed if he didn't quickly adapt. Curly, another dog taken to the arctic, died immediately when he tried to make friends. Dogs get into tons of fights in Alaska (where this story takes place), including Buck, and if he could not have adapted he would have been killed. It is also very, very cold in the arctic, where as in California, where he is from, it rarely gets below 70 degrees. Buck also didn't get much food up North and would have quickly died without his body accepting the change in the amount of food he was to receive. 
The Call of the Wild is all about Buck and his changes. It is a classic. It's also a book of literary merit, and therefore is required to read in most English classes. Outside of English, I'm not sure I would have read this, but I'm glad I did. 


  1. This book was so bad that I couldn't finish it! I have no idea why it's a classic!