Call of the Wild
Leadership in The Call Of The Wild
In the book Buck had shown great leadership, he is a born leader and proves this by taking down the current leader. This event proves it because when Buck first came there all the dogs were trying to take down Spitz (which was the current leader) but Spitz always won. But then Buck came in and failed the first time, but he learned from his mistakes and the next time he is ready, and takes him down, that’s why this book is so great is because it shows to never give up, Buck had a goal, and failure did not affect him in the slightest. He was determined to accomplish his goal, and he finally defeated him.
In the start of the book Buck was a spoiled dog (and remember a spoiled dog is not a domesticated dog!) He got whatever he wanted, and yes sure maybe he is a leader at the start, but he hadn’t had actual experience, nothing bad had happened to him. He wasn’t prepared if something went wrong, adding on, when he got kidnapped the person who kidnapped him put a noose around him, and he trusted him (strike 1) but when he gave the other person who was buying Buck, and he started choking Buck and Buck charged at him but fainted. He let the person put on the noose. What he should’ve done was not have let him put the noose around his neck, also look at the situation and if it looks bad run, doesn’t matter if it someone you trust, as it shows in the book, this event gets him kidnapped.
Also, when Buck was a sled dog, hardship didn’t make him a good leader, sure he took down Spitz, but a true leader still needs kindness. If you hate everybody, or you’re too rough nobody will like you, or want to follow your lead everybody will think you’re self-absorbed and irritating, and the hardship did help this in a way, it put Buck in his place and really humbled him. Speaking of sled dogs, when Buck was on his last few steps, somebody found him (and his name is John Thornton) he took him to his house and took great care of Buck, a few days later, Buck was healthy and ready to go, but Buck didn’t want to leave him, so John understood this, and kept him. John is a great owner, so great in fact John even treats his dogs like his children. Buck is now finally, a great leader, he’s been through the struggle and now he is prepared for anything.
In conclusion, as I have said before Buck is a leader, he should be a leader, the hardship did help him become a much better leader, but also taught him that a leader needs kindness. Buck is also very loyal as I have already said if he trusts somebody he will be with that person to the end of the line. Buck is strong and determined, if he has a goal, he will finish it, no matter what it takes. As I have also said before he also used to be spoiled, but now he been through that tragic experience so he is prepared if something goes wrong. Before, he wasn’t but know he is ready. As lot of people say, you learn from your mistakes.
The Summary Of The Call Of The Wild
Buck is a 4 year old dog Scottish shepherd bernard crossbreed. He works with the judge son, and guarding his grandchildren. All dogs like Buck were in danger, because men were rushing to Northland for dogs like Buck. One night Buck was stolen along with other dogs and sold to dispatchers from the Canadian government. The ropes were put around the dogs necks, and their life in the civilized world are over. Buck’s next owner was the man in the red sweater. This man wasn’t a bad person, but he would beat the dogs when he first had them. At first the man in the red sweater hits Buck with a club/golf club until Buck learns to respect people. The first couple of times that Buck was hit with a club he tried to fight back, but he was in too much pain. When Buck learns to respect people the man treats him nicely. Later Buck is sold to people that are going to the Yukon to find gold. Buck and another dog were sold to Francois and Perrault. These two men are fair and kind to all the dogs. They respect their dogs and take good care of them. They think that Buck is a strong dog that will be able to do a lot. After a while, other people have heard about Buck and what he is able to do. These people want to buy Buck from Francois and Perrault. They take the money and Buck went to a new owner. These new owners are very different from their personalities and how they treat the dogs. The next couple of owners that Buck have are also very different.
After the sale of Buck, his new owner was the Scotch Half breed. After that it was Charles, Hal, and Mercedes. The first owner, the Scotch Half breed wasn’t in the Yukon for gold, he delivered mail to the people that were looking for gold. He treats the dogs very good. He takes care of the dogs before himself. When it’s time for dinner, the dogs eat first then he does. He takes care of the dogs’ paws as well. He may push the dogs hard but after a long day he treats them well. The Scotches half breed sold Buck not too long after he got him. He sold him to amateurs Their names were Charles, Hal, and Mercedes. They had no idea what they were doing. They put everything onto the sled and that made it hard for the dogs to pull the sled. They wouldn’t take anything off the sled and they pushed the dogs too hard all day, everyday. Aftering pushing the dogs hard they didn’t take good care of the dogs. That was very hard for all the dogs. All the dogs who were getting tired slowly dying. Buck has one last owner, but the rest of the dogs stay where they are.
John Thornton sees the amateurs that are harming the dogs. He sees that Charles is beating Buck. Thornton tells him not to beat Buck because Buck can’t do anything. Then Thornton cuts Buck out of his traces. John Thornton keeps Buck and the rest of the dogs stay with Charles. John Thornton is the best owner that Buck has had. John is caring and gentle with his dogs.He takes good care of his dogs, especially Buck. They have a special relationship with one another. Buck will do anything for John Thornton. The wild is calling Buck but he never goes too far because he remembers how great John Thornton is and goes back. John Thornton is the ideal master. He is the owner that all dogs would want.
Buck has had many different owners that treat him different everywhere he went. Out of all the owners that Buck has had John Thornton is his favorite. Sadly John Thornton is attacked and died. This happening leaves Buck to fend for himself. Buck seems lost until he finds the wolves. The wolves give him a test to see if he can make it with them and he passes the test. Buck is now on top once more. He had gone from king to a beaten dog. Then back to a king that runs with the wolves.
My Impressions Of Call Of The Wild By Jack London
The book that I read is The Call of the Wild. The Author of the book is Jack London and was published in 1903. The story is about dogs and sled pulling. The genre of the book ‘Call of the Wild’ is an Adventure Fiction Novel.
In the beginning of the novel, the book takes place where a dog lives in a big house in Santa Clara Valley with a man named Judge Miller. The home was half hidden among trees as it stands back from the road. Gravelled driveways approach the house with wide-spreading lawns under tall poplars. With great stables, rows of vine-clad cottages, long grap arbors, green pastures, orchards and berry patches.
The dog is named Buck, who is male and of four years of age. He is a big 140-pound Half-Saint Bernard and Half-Scottish Shepherd. Buck is a determined dog who sees himself as a leader. In a page, Buck won’t go into the line until he’s in the front as the main dog. In another page, Buck manages to go a thousand feet pulling a heavy amount of flour. It is unclear what Buck’s goal in life is, but to me, it’s that he wants to be the leader of the dog pack.
In the story, Buck was taken away by Judge Miller’s gardener and has been carried around throughout the story, during his travels, he fought a man in a red sweater and was taken down with a club until he learned to respect a man with a club. He met three other dogs, Curly, a good-hearted Newfoundland. A big, snow-white fellow from Spitzbergen, who stole his food in Page 13. And Dave, he was a gloomy, tired fellow who desired nothing but to be left alone. He had no interest in anything, not even when the Narwhal crossed Queen Charlotte. Buck and Curly were excited, but Dave just raised his head and yawned, going back to sleep. The Narwhal reached Dyea Beach and Buck’s first day there was an absolute nightmare, every hour of it was filled with shock and surprise to the point where his heart was flunged into things primordial, there was no peace nor rest, not even a moment’s safety. All there was is confusion and action, every moment life and limb were in peril, these dogs and men were not of town dogs and men, but they were savages, all of them who knew no law but the law of club and fang. Buck never saw these dogs fight as wolfs before, but his first experience taught him an unforgetable lesson. Curly, being the friendly dog she was, made advances to be friends, only to be ripped by wolfs and died. Buck did not comprehend this and saw Spitz, running out his tongue in a way of laughing.
Finally, at the end of the story, Buck has become what known as a Ghost Wolf, leading his new pack of wolfs as if he was one, as he was raised as such by new strangers. He killed men before and knew that it had consequences, as his new human friend, was killed by the Yeehats. Buck in a fit of rage, killed them. Now running off into a wolf’s habitat and turning into one.
Call of the Wild was an interesting book that I actually enjoyed reading, people who like stories that are Adventure-Fiction would maybe enjoy this book as well.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Call of the Wild by Jack London clearly demonstrates how literature allows us to travel in unexpected directions by pursuing thought processes which would not occur in everyday life. The Call of the Wild follows a dog called Buck and his transition from a pampered house pet to a sled dog working in the Yukon territory. Eventually Buck gives in to his hereditary genes and joins a pack of wolves. The book made its’ audience question who has the right to determine the value of a human life, as well as the thought processes which lead to the way we make decisions.
The Call of the Wild led its’ audience to question the morality of situations which show some of today’s contentious issues in a new light. After John Thornton saved Buck’s life, it was unusual that he decided not to argue further with the party determined to attempt crossing a potentially fatal stretch of ice. This thought process led to question whether Thornton made the right decision and if anyone should ever be given up on. Thornton reasons that, “two or three fools more or less would not alter the scheme of things.” London is leading us to the idea that some lives are less valuable than others and additionally that humanity is both right and capable to decide whose life is worth more and whose less. The life of a fellow dog ends in a vastly different situation earlier on in the book, Dave is described as being in constant pain and eventually “his strength left him, and the last his mates saw of him he law gasping in the snow.” Dave was not left to his own devices in the wild, but shot. This scene made the audience ponder whether Dave should have been released into the wilderness as this would have offered him a chance, no matter how small, at life. In today’s society Thornton’s decision would be scrutinised but it bears certain similarities to the decision of a mother to terminate her unborn babies life. While ending a child’s life through abortion may seem to be the only way to regain the mother’s freedom, they trade their life for that of the unborn childs. Society struggles to find a solution for both parties but we have to remember that every life matters. Life matters. Additionally, Dave is killed because it is considered humane for a creature in great pain. The predicament of a sick animal is immensely different to that of a terminally ill human but humanity is never sure how long that person or animal may live. Saying that people are allowed to terminate their own lives if there’s even a slight chance they may live longer debases the value of life. The Call of the Wild has ld its’ audience to form opinions on complex issues which they may be able to avoid in daily life.
Within it’s exploration of hereditary traits, The Call of the Wild makes it’s audience analyse the way we make decisions. While discussing Buck’s newfound wild instincts London comments that they are inherited, “the memories of ancestors become habits.” Humans make decisions primarily based on what they believe will be most beneficial for them; however, we may be subconsciously influenced by the actions of our forebears. More visibly, we are heavily impacted by our parents as we have learnt through their examples, following their footsteps and therefore, their memories become our habits. Another scene vividly describes Buck’s memory of early humans around a fire and describes the man as, “one who lives in perpetual fear of things seen and unseen.” While Buck has not developed and still sits in that same position around the fire, humans changed into what we are today. While dogs are ruled by their heredity, humanity may overcome their ancestral instincts to grow as a people. Hereditary instincts helped Buck adapt to the wild a place his species had inhabited before him but humanities environment is constantly changing; therefore, the qualities we inherit may be more of a hindrance than desirable. If no-one was innovative and took risks, we would not have the majority of technological and social advances that humanity has made. Through The Call of the Wild, the audience was led to a enlightening awareness of outside influences and how they impact our decision making.
The Call of the Wild leads to a renewed mindset on literature and its application to life through it’s presentation of ideas. London has written from a unique perspective which allows the reader to decide their position on controversial topics in today’s society and has also allowed us to analyse everyday choices in view of the future.
White Fang: “The call of the wild and White Fang” by Jack London Essay
Jack London has been touted as one of the best writers of his time with an instinctive artistic ability of high order and an extraordinary set of skills with words. It should be noted that this book complements the themes advanced in his earlier publication “The Call of the Wild”, by showing how a naturally domesticated animal may revert to freedom present in nature and the wilderness. In view of this, this paper focuses on the attributes of the characters and their adaptability to different circumstances.
Analysis of the Main Characters
White Fang is the main character of the story. This fact is emphasized by London’s decision to name the story after him. He was born of a mixed heritage, to a wolf paternity and a mother bearing a mixed heritage of wolf and dog. He shows unique attributes, which prompt his mother to care for him. He is naturally agile and strong, attributes which he transforms into fighting skills after other dogs become mean to him (The New York Times).
His conquests in the battle field underline his fierceness. He is an intelligent animal, a fact which helped him survive the challenges in the forest. Loosing all his siblings to the drought helps him sharpen his natural instincts. He is adventurous, a trait which enables him to learn the invaluable lesson of survival for the fittest. This helps him in the later stages of his life when he is handled by different masters.
His loyalty is portrayed when he opts to stick to his masters in spite of the misery he underwent on their account. This is as a consequence of fear instilled into him during his beatings and, he subsequently He toes the line in order to avoid retribution. This implies that his heart had not warmed to his master hence love was constituent in their relationship (London 172). Fang shows his obedient nature by staying within all boundaries established by his different masters (The New York Times).
White Fang’s resilience is portrayed by the attitude he adopts since his childhood. He is constantly teased by other puppies when they move into the human camp. After loosing several fights, he adapts to the situation and fights his battles with the resolve to win. Life in this camp also reveals his aggression.
He beats all his opponents before doing all it takes to beat his main tormentor, lip-lip. In the latter years of his life, he gains from this experience to fight when unleashed on other aggressive dogs. His last master, Weedon Scott reveals a sentimental aspect to his character. By showering him with affection continuously, White Fang becomes affectionate towards his boss. This fondness is genuine due to the love that is existent between them.
This transformation is shown by numerous instances in the book where he responds to the master’s word as opposed to sadism which he was accustomed. He develops affection for Scott, to the extent that he howls in pain and refuses to eat when the master leaves him behind. This attachment signifies loyalty that stems from love, in contrast to intimidation, as it was from his previous masters.
Weedon Scott bought White Fang when he faced imminent death while fighting. The difference in management styles between Beaver and Scott is evident. He is kind to the animal, and hence refrains from employing violent forms of retribution. Instead, he nurtures Fang into an obedient beast by showering him with endless affection.
He shows he is caring after he assumes liability of white fang by instructing his assistant to take care of the dog throughout the recuperation period. He exhibits perseverance every time the dog does not respond to his overtures. The dog gives him cold treatment time and again, barking viciously at him and declining to take meals, but he does not give up on him.
After much coaxing, he finally reached out to the animal using meat. He then decided to train the animal with the aim of domesticating it. After much work, the dog resonated with his voice, by developing the ability to decipher the different tones in his voice.
Scott is responsible since he agrees to travel with White Fang back to his home instead of leaving him behind with the servant. This also brings to light his compassionate attribute, because he only gives in after hearing the beast’s painful howls and seeing the magnitude of injuries he incurred as he tried to break free. It is noteworthy that Scott loves White Fang genuinely.
This is recorded as one of the main reasons why the beast finally warned up to him. This trait facilitates their forming of a strong bond which made the dog guard him and his property.
The she wolf Kiche is White Fang’s mother. She acts as the leader of the wolf pack despite the fact that she is a domestic dog. Her intelligence comes out clearly from the onset as she lures the sled driving dogs from Bill and Harry their masters into the woods (London165). She shows her dexterity and adaptability when she leads her cub into the Indian settlement, where “man is god” furthermore.
Kiche is also protective of her cubs and hunts in order to feed them. It is also on record that she fought a wolverine and a weasel in order to protect her only remaining cub. She is affectionate, an attribute which draws White Fang to her. It makes him look up to her as a teacher, guide and a source of protection. It is worth mentioning that Kiche’s attribute are seen when “the cub felt his mother soften at the sound.
When she is taken away by an Indian for a debt owed, White Fang unsuccessfully attempts to pursue her before he is captured by beaver. When the fully grown White Fang meets her later in the book, she refuses to acknowledge him. In spite of this, respect he had for her is evidenced by the fact that he accepted the present state of affairs and upheld his respect for her as a mother and teacher.
Gray Beaver, White Fang’s initial owner is cruel to the wolf and tames him through beatings. Surprisingly, he treats him with fairness; in the same manner he does other dogs. The wolf considers him a god due to the extra chunks of meat he often receives from the Indian. It should be noted that Beaver was not a cruel man, but was socialized to believe that cruelty is synonymous with survival. Beaver’s gullibility is exposed when he falls for a scheme by Beauty Smith which sees him lose ownership of the dog.
He is tricked into alcoholism and his subsequent addiction ensures he trades the dog for liquor. White Fang escapes Smith’s home on several occasions and runs back to Beaver. He in turn returned him back due to his honesty. Despite all his shortcomings, Beaver remains loyal to the wolf as a master, playing the most crucial of roles in developing his strength, independence and intelligence.
Beauty Smith was another of White Fang’s owners. It is satirical for the author to name a man with such an appalling character beauty. His cruelty is evidenced promptly as he whips White Fang on several occasions. He kept the dog chained frequently and exposed him to many forms of maltreatment; this made the dog realize that it was subject to the master’s prerogative (London 276).
Fang submitted to him out of fear, and ran away on more than a few instances, but was brought back by Beaver. His total disregard for the dog is shown when he opts to watch the dog die in a fighting arena, before selling him off to Scott despite all the injuries it had incurred. He is exploitative, since he channeled the dog’s rage for his personal gain.
He unleashed him on other dogs with the hope of making a profit from bets placed during the fight. Beauty Smith employs treachery and gets Gray Beaver to sell him the dog. He is violent, since he exposes the dog to violence before unleashing him on other beasts for profit (London 183). He propagates the principle of gaining respect through fear and violence, with Smith being the main beneficiary of his exploits.
It is noteworthy that Mr. London brings out his best pieces when writing about the relationships between human beings and beasts. He aptly presents feral nature to be entirely distinct from human nature and lifestyle. This is illustrated by “London is condemned for espousing contradictory ideas and causes, his judges are, unknowingly perhaps, charging him with no greater error than being the representative of the world in which he lived” (Ross 57).
This story reveals how the beasts submit to human authority readily, in addition, to the adaptability of domestic animals to a change in their environment. He brings to light the fact that while beasts may not reason like humans do; they learn from the discipline of experience and are propelled by instinct on what to shun and what to seek.
The cub does not envision life as a voracious appetite due to the difference in perception between himself and mankind. He leads a single purposed life, driven by survival and the need to see out one desire at a time. By dwelling on the savage nature of the experiences the beast goes through in a bid to emphasize their fitness. He intimates that beasts experience pain and pleasure out of life in similar quantities as illustrated when he cries (London 183).
In his earlier publication, ‘Call of the Wild’, London talks about a Buck, a dog born in the civilized world, who is sold to travelers in need of sledge pullers (Tabor-Hann). The tale recounts the challenges he goes through in the wild, that bring out his wild side. His killer instinct is polished due to the hardships he undergoes while changing masters at frequent intervals.
The same can be said of the lives people lead in the present times. While some adapt easily to difficulties, other persons experience difficulties in the course of transitions from their comfort zones. From the story, it is evident that remarkably few characters show the resilience and ability to adapt to new systems, and hence guarantee their survival. Those who refuse to discard their areas of comfort are rendered irrelevant due to their inability to cope with changing situations.
London, Jack. The call of the wild and White Fang. London: Collector’s library. 2004. Print.
London, Jack. White Fang. New York: Plain Label Books, 1968. Reprint.
Ross, Dale. “Jack London: An American Dilemma”. Journal of American Culture. 1982. 5: 57 62.
Tabor-Hann, Kellie. Investigating Jack London’s White Fang: Nature and Culture Detectives. Edsitement. 2010. Web.
The New York Times. Jack London the Socialist—A Character Study; When and Why the Author of “The Call of the Wild” Became a Convert and Propagandist—His Literary Methods and Aims. 1906. Web.
Jack London’s The Call of the Wild Essay
World literature consists of numerous examples when prominent writers turn to animal characters who are hardly distinguishable from human protagonists. The idea of such a trick is to convey a stronger message to the audience, as people relate to animals because they depict many human traits. Jack London is not an exception in this context, as he truly loved the idea of having dogs as main characters (Tichi, 2015). The purpose of the essay is to summarize the story of The Call of the Wild, describe its characters and themes, express the opinion regarding the background story behind key characters’ relationship, and get an understanding of the nature of living creatures.
The story takes place in the Yukon Territory, the area between north-western Canada and Alaska, during the Klondike gold rush. Jack London, in his callow years, was one of those who rolled the dice and went to the North to get rich fast. Jack was a highly independent person, and around the time of The Call of the Wild publication, he “was surging with self-confidence” (McAleer, 2016, p. 9). Not only people were involved in the Klondike enterprise but also dogs like the protagonist of the book. Buck is a mixed-breed dog; his father is St. Bernard, and his mother is a Scotch shepherd dog. He lives in a sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley with his master Judge Miller. However, his peaceful life ends when miners in the North discover a yellow metal called gold.
Buck is a muscular creature who is neither house nor kennel dog, and he trusts the people he knows. Although he has never experienced people’s cruelty, one day, the gardener Manuel, who is a gambler, kidnaps him and sells to dog dealers. One of them clothed in a red sweater becomes dog’s handler and grossly mistreats him, later on, this man re-sells Buck to a Canadian government official named Perrault. Buck reaches the Dyea beach, where he immediately learns club and fang law. Being forced to become a slave, he adjusts to a new life and steadily starts acting like a wolf. He takes the role of the leader of a dog team after he has killed his mortal foe Spitz and proves to be worthier than several other dogs (Zeng, 2018). When human management of the team changes, Buck soon finds a new master whose name is John Thornton. Buck gets attached to John, so he even can risk his life for the man’s sake. When the Yeehats kill Thornton, Buck gets mad and kills people of this tribe. The book ends with a legend of Buck being the leader of the wolf pack who keeps on daunting the Yeehats.
The description of the main characters of the book should start with the protagonist. The development of Buck is tremendous throughout the entire book, as he steadily turns into the opposite of himself. At the start, Buck enjoys his lush life in sunny Northern California, and in the end, he is presented as a fierce, vengeful, and greedy leader of the pack. It is almost unbelievable that Buck is a dog because London overly humanizes him. He has emotions, feelings, affections, so the fact that Buck is a dog can be overseen. He, as any living creature, is torn between various temptations making his life quite thorny and complicated.
On the one hand, he has always perceived himself as a civilized dog who is alien to brutality. On the other hand, he is deceived by the wild, which feels like home to him. Even though he happens to meet a master who is kind and fond of the dog, Buck doesn’t want to be just a man’s best friend anymore.
The central human character is John Thornton, who is the last master of Buck. London doesn’t give any details of Thornton’s life because his primary role is to reveal Buck’s character to an even greater extent. Thornton’s presence in Buck’s life is also a challenge: the dog loves the master so much that he even risks the life for Thornton’s sake, but he also wants to go into the wild. Another dog character is Spitz, who is Buck’s most despised enemy and rival. Spitz is the catalysator, which lets Buck understand what an amoral creature is, but he also pushes Buck to the dueling to decide who is worth the status of a leader. There are more characters in the book, but most of them play episodical roles in the biography of Buck.
The themes of the book represent a wide range of topics from the struggle for mastery to the binary relations between civilization and wilderness. Obtaining master status doesn’t seem to be the biggest goal of Buck when a reader first meets him. However, as everything in this book evolves fast, so does the mastery. Buck understands quite early that he has to become a master because this is the law of his ancestors (Zeng, 2018). He doesn’t want to be weak because he knows what happens to those who cannot fight their vulnerabilities. He struggles to become a super creature who is the master of his own. Another theme, binarity of wilderness and civilization, is also of significant interest in the book. It is very relevant at all times, as London once again demonstrates how thin the invisible line is between two concepts. Buck is undoubtedly not the only one who surrenders to the temptation of the instincts and acts like a wolf in the world of barbarity. He learns new things fast, but he also forgets the old ones even faster.
In my opinion, there is an obvious thread of personal history going through the entire book. In reality, the relationship between Thornton and Buck is based on the ties between London and his foster dad, John London. The character and foster parent of the author do not solely share the same name, but also the idea of adopting creatures who desperately needed to be taken under their wings. The relationship between Buck and John is intrinsic for the message of the book because Thornton manages to “awaken the sleeping love in Buck’s deep soul” (Yang, 2015, p. 44). My other thought is that the relationship between the two characters is based on London’s daydreaming. London was not able to compensate for the debt he owed to his foster dad, so he made the tribute possible in the book. In the story, Buck manages to save his master and even wins money for the enterprise of Thornton’s dream. The theme goes beyond the book, as it concerns the relationship between the foster parent and the adopted kid. From my point of view, the book shows different sides of this type of traumatized love experienced by both Buck and its creator Jack.
Having discussed the content, characters, and themes, one can state that this is a book about a confident character. On the one hand, there is a certain sense of respect for Buck, while, on the other hand, it is not clear whether he is better than the characters he despises in the beginning. The book sends a clear message that many factors should be taken into consideration when one tries to understand the nature of a living creature. It is not as black and white as it may seem since life is a continuous change.
McAleer, J. (2016). Call of the Atlantic: Jack London’s publishing odyssey overseas, 1902-1916. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Tichi, C. (2015). Jack London: A writer’s fight for a better America. Chapel Hil, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.
Yang, H. (2015). Psychoanalysis of Jack London’s The call of the wild and White fang, English Language Teaching, 8(11), 42-46.
Zeng, X. (2018). On the reflection of naturalism in the main character in The call of the wild. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 8(11), 1530-1534.
To promote cleanliness of our surroundings
The primary theme of the story is of survival and a return to primitivism. Pizer writes that the theme is allegorical and clear: “the strong, the shrewd, and the cunning shall prevail when … life is bestial”. Pizer also finds evident in the story a Christian theme of love and redemption, as shown by Buck’s refusal to revert to violence until after the death of Thornton, who won Buck’s love and loyalty.London, who went so far as to fight for custody of one of his own dogs, understood that loyalty between dogs (particularly working dogs) and their masters is built on trust and love.
By 1897, California native Jack London had traveled around the United States as a hobo, returned to California to finish high school (he dropped out at age 14), and spent a year in college at Berkeley. He then traveled to the Klondike by way of Alaska during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush, later saying of the experience: “It was in the Klondike I found myself.
” Leaving California in July, he traveled to Dyea, where he went inland. To reach the gold fields, he and his party transported their gear over the Chilkoot Pass, often carrying on their backs loads of up to 100 pounds (45 kg).
They staked claims to eight gold mines along the Stewart River. London stayed in the Klondike for almost a year. He lived for a time in the frontier town of Dawson City, before moving to a nearby winter camp, where he spent the winter reading books he had brought: Charles Darwin’s The Origin of the Species; and John Milton’s Paradise Lost. In the winter of 1898, Dawson City (today mostly deserted) was a city with about 30,000 miners, a saloon, an opera house, and a street of brothels. In the spring of 1898, as the annual gold stampeders began to stream into the area, London left.
He had contracted scurvy, common in the Arctic winters, where fresh produce was unavailable. When London’s gums began to swell he decided to return to California. With his companions, he rafted 2,000 miles (3,200 km) down the Yukon River, through portions of the wildest territory in the region, until they reached St. Michael, where he hired himself out on a boat and returned to San Francisco. In Alaska, London found material that inspired him to write the novella The Call of the Wild. Dyea Beach was the primary point of arrival for miners at the time London visited, but without a harbor access was treacherous, so Skagway became the new arrival point.
From there, to reach the Klondike prospectors had to navigate the White Pass, which became known as “Dead Horse Pass”, with horse carcasses littering the route; it was too steep and harsh for them to survive the ascent. Dogs began to replace horses to transport material over the pass, and at this time strong dogs with thick fur were “much desired, scarce and high in price”. London would have seen many dogs, especially prized Husky sled dogs, in Dawson City and in winter camps close to the main sled route. He became friends with Marshall Latham Bond, who owned a mixed St. Bernard-Scotch Collie dog; in a letter to his friend London later wrote: “Yes, Buck is based on your dog at Dawson.”
Beinecke Library at Yale University holds a photograph of Bond’s dog, taken during London’s stay in the Klondike in 1897. The depiction of the California ranch in the beginning of the story was based on the Bond family ranch.
Summary, Plot, Moral Values, Themes the Call of the Wild
Summary: Buck, the lead character, is a much loved and pampered dog living a comfortable life on a ranch under the loving care of his owner, a wealthy judge who makes his pet want for nothing. Then one day, Buck’s life takes a dramatic turn when he’s sold off by an unscrupulous servant to pay a debt. He travels in a cage for the first time and is sold in Alaska, where dog-sleds are the primary mode of transportation.
Buck has to quickly adapt to his new life as a sled dog and learn how to survive in a dog-eat-dog world where the competition is tough and often deadly. The basic comforts he had hitherto taken for granted, namely abundant food and warm shelter, are replaced by the bare necessities for survival which have to be fought for tooth and claw. Buck learns quickly, his physique and natural intelligence standing him in good stead, all the while improving as a sled dog and ultimately deposing the pack leader, his arch enemy: Spitz.
His life changes sharply yet again, as he is sold off to Hal and his wife, people who know nothing about sledding or caring for animals till at last he is rescued by a kind and loving man, his last master: John Thornton. At last Buck finds a master who loves him besides caring for or pampering him. However this happiness is not built to last, his master is murdered by the vicious Yee-Hats, a tribe of brutal savages. In the midst of his anguish, Buck has to find his true self, he has to listen to the Call of the Wild and to answer it to go leaping towards his destiny… Get this e-book now at a very low price. Summer Promotion at eBooks.com! Take $15 off on $100 or more purchase. Use code: SUMMEREBOOKScp. Valid until Sep 22, 2012
Social/Historical context: The book was published in 1903, the time of the gold rushes and adventures in vast, unexplored tracts of land. A time before the full use of machinery and sophisticated technology, when often, dog sleds and carts were the only means of communication in the wilderness. London’s masterpiece, as it is often hailed to be, explores the heart of those yet-primitive societies on the edges of civilization, through the minds of their beasts.
Writing Style: The book is written as a third-person narrative, continually following the central character and from the point of view of the central character. The language is extremely simple and lucid, and combined with a gripping plot, the book is easy to follow and hence suited for younger as well as seasoned readers. London has explored society from a dog’s perspective. However the deeper, darker messages of unbound greed, ambition and ultimately the necessity of adaptability to change are easy to spot. There is an innocence in the way the author has attempted to capture the scene from a dog’s point of view, this adds to the simple charm of the book.
My Thoughts: One of my early classics, I read this for the first time when I was 9 and I loved it because I loved animals as all children of that age do. Now, when I reminisce about it I relate, with an adult mind, to the other themes in the book. I cannot help but wonder at the complexity of the layers, so deep yet so simply structured. A timeless tale for all and sundry.
Analysis Of White Fang By Jack London English Literature
Jack London was an American author who wrote quite a few books. The main focus of this paper will be on White Fang one of his more popular books. Jack Londonââ‚¬â„¢s White Fang exhibits his naturalist way of thinking, when discussing how the environment and natural world around him is able to raise society and exhibit the deeper truths. Throughout the book there are many references to naturalism with the use of symbols and metaphors. He also uses survival of the fittest and romanticism as major themes.
Jack London wrote many books with Darwin’s popular ideas in mind, particularly White Fang and The Call of the Wild. The process of “natural selection” means that only the strongest, brightest, and most adaptable elements of a species will survive. This idea is embodied by the character, White Fang. From the onset, he is the strongest wolf-cub, the only one of the litter to survive the famine. His strength and intelligence make him the most feared dog in the Indian camp.
While defending Judge Scott, White Fang takes three bullets but is miraculously able to survive. One element of the book one might overlook is White Fang’s ability to adapt to any new circumstances and somehow survive. He learns how to fight the other dogs, he learns to obey new masters, he learns to fight under the evil guidance of Beauty and, finally, he learns to love and be tamed by Weedon Scott.
White Fang was written during the courtship and marriage of London to Charmian Kittredge and a romantic theme is part of the novel. Part V reflects how love can tame natural behavior and instincts. As White Fang learns to love Weedon Scott, this love produces a desire in the dog to do anything to please his “love master.” This includes having Weedon’s children climb and play with him, and learning to leave chickens alone, although the taste was extremely pleasing to him. Just as White Fang was tamed by love, Jack London was tamed by love as he began staying away from the whorehouses in San Francisco and trying to overcome a severe drug habit.
The Wild is a dominant symbol for the perilous nature of life. The Wild symbolizes life as a struggle: for example, the Wild is a place in which the sun makes a “futile effort” to appear (I.2). White Fang himself is a symbol of the Wild (IV.1). The Wild is, for White Fang as a pup, the “unknown” (II.3)-and he, in turn, becomes the embodiment of the “unknown” for others (V.3). And yet the Wild is not a wholly negative metaphor in this story, for the Wild gives White Fang much of his strength. For example, in the final chapter, as he is struggling for life, White Fang is able to survive when other animals may not have, for White Fang, we are reminded, “had come straight from the Wild, where the weak perish early and shelter is vouchsafed to none. A constitution of iron and the vitality of the Wild were White Fang’s inheritance” (V.5). The Wild is thus a multivalent metaphor in White Fang, but tending to express the power of life to survive and even thrive. Like the Wild, the life force cannot be completely tamed.
Light is a common symbol for life in the world’s literature, because light is, of course, a physical necessity for life. Light’s symbolic function in White Fang proves no exception. In II.3, for instance, we read that as the young pups starve, “the life that was in them flickered and died down,” and that White Fang’s sister’s “flame flickered lower and lower and at last went out.” In that same chapter, however, the “wall of light”-the entrance to the wolves’ lair-is a symbol for living in the larger world. Life is as precarious as a flickering flame, yes, but it is also persistent: “The light drew [the cubs] as if they were plants; the chemistry of the life that composed them demanded the light as a necessity of being.” Similarly, the light and warmth of Gray Beaver’s fire attracts White Fang (III.1). Readers will note other examples of light serving a symbolic function, because light is equated with life, and the persistence of a life is a dominant theme of the book.
Clay is a metaphor employed several times in the book to describe the “raw material” of a person or animal’s makeup. It is the metaphor London chooses to use to address the perpetual debate about the relative importance of “nature” and “nurture” in determining identity. London offers three clear examples of characters whose clay has been harshly molded through harsh experiences (which can only be called “nurture” for the terms of the argument): Beauty Smith, Jim Hall, and White Fang. Interestingly, Smith and Hall seem beyond “redemption”: Smith runs away into the night after White Fang attacks him (IV.6), and Hall is killed by White Fang (V.5). Only White Fang is “redeemed,” and that occurs through a nurture that is worthy of the name: Weedon Scott’s love of the animal. The key passage, perhaps, occurs in IV.6, when we are told explicitly about the two very different “thumbs of circumstance” that have worked their way on the clay of White Fang’s character-first, an oppressive thumb that turned him into a vicious and savage fighter; last, the loving thumb of Weedon Scott that helped him transform into “Blessed Wolf” (V.5).
One central theme with which London seems preoccupied in White Fang is the theme of the nature of life. The theme was much on the minds of 19th-century readers and thinkers. In 1859, Charles Darwin advanced ideas that came to be popularly understood as “survival of the fittest”-that life was a struggle, and that only the powerful and strong survived (and, in some applications known as “social Darwinism,” perhaps only they deserved to do so). About a half-century later, London publishes this novel, which may be read as a “taking to task” of such “social Darwinism.” London’s story seems to posit that life is more than a “bleak and materialistic” (III.5) struggle where only power matters. The “redemption” that White Fang undergoes at Weedon Scott’s instigation suggests that the greatest power in life is the power of love.
This theme connects quite naturally, then, with another key theme. If London’s novel explores the meaning of life, it also quite clearly explores the meaning of civilization. One way in which it does so is through the character of Beauty Smith. Beauty Smith stands as an argument against the misrepresentations of Darwinism noted above-i.e., the justification of the weak and powerless’ exploitation at the hands of the strong and powerful; and an attempt to free individuals from the responsibility to exercise their own volition by an appeal to a pre-determined destiny. We are told that Smith is the product of harsh experiences. Like White Fang, his clay has been roughly molded. Even so, Smith has had and presumably still has choice about how to respond to his environment-a choice, for instance, whether or not to “vindicate” his existence by tormenting men and beasts less powerful than he. White Fang, in order to survive, does not. This marks the sharpest contrast between the two characters. It also heightens the novel’s overarching reflections on the struggle of life, however, for even as Smith is wrongly exercising his power, White Fang is rightly exercising his to continue to live: “He had too great vitality. His clutch on life was too strong” to continue to resist Smith. Ironically, he demonstrates power through submission. Thus, if Smith truly were a civilized man, he would know to treat White Fang better.
London has raised this question earlier in his novel, of course. In II.5, for example, he introduces “The Law of Meat.” By laying bare the often brutal dynamics of life in the Wild, London is holding a mirror up to us, giving us the opportunity to see those dynamics at work in us, for good or for ill. Do we recognize “the law of meat”-“EAT OR BE EATEN”-when we see it, and do we adhere to it ourselves, or strive to adhere to a higher law, a law that requires us to curb our instincts for a greater good?
Representation of Darwin's Theory in White Fang
Jack London is known for using naturalism and brutality as themes in his novels; however, it is also common for him to use philosophical ideas to advance his plots. One example that effectively shows this is London’s White Fang, which is significantly informed by Charles Darwin’s theories of survival and competition. More specifically, this work centers on the study of Social Darwinism, which is a belief that “the process of natural selection acting on variations in the population would result in the survival of the best competitors and in continuing improvement in the population” (“Social Darwinism” 1).
This theory is articulated within the changes in White Fang’s behavior in different environments. White Fang shows how one’s behavior adapts through external influences and demonstrates the underlying presence of Social Darwinism.
The human characters have a significant impact on White Fang, prompting major changes in his behavior. One of these alterations occurs when he is forced into an unfamiliar and harsh environment.
He must learn to survive with his new master, Beauty Smith, who is a described as “a sadistic master who beats White Fang and starves him to make him fight harder” (Reesman 3). The neglect and abuse from Smith has an important impact on White Fang, since now he must learn new tactics for survival. Through this struggle, he learns to behave like a vicious beast in order to survive and protect himself from being killed. Eventually, this leads him to fight and often kill any dog that crosses his path. Virginia Crane explains how White Fang gets the name “The Fighting Wolf” by being “abused and exploited so harshly that he develops into a ferocious killer” (Crane 3). With Smith in control, White Fang learns and replicates Smith’s immoral and malicious traits. Smith treats him with such cruelty that he must adapt to the harsh environment in order to not be killed. London states that because White Fang is beaten and chained up for a long period of time, “[White Fang] now became the enemy of all things, and more ferocious than ever. To such an extent was he tormented, that he hated blindly and without the faintest spark of reason” (London 220). White Fang begins to manifest the hate that he receives from Smith, which is another reason he begins to behave as “The Fighting Wolf”. He now believes that violence is the only way to live, since he has never before been treated with love.
Another major change in White Fang occurs when Weedon Scott rescues him during a dangerous dog fight. From that moment on, White Fang’s life is completely different. Opposing the qualities of Beauty Smith, “Scott represents a greater good because he chooses to make White Fang his responsibility, and he chooses knowing that he is taking on a killer” (Norvell 2). Being treated with the care and love that Scott provides is new to White Fang, so he must relearn how to behave and survive for life in this environment. Although this is a challenge for both of them, Scott doesn’t give up while training White Fang and helping him to earn a new reputation. White Fang’s change in behavior is tested and proven when he resists his natural instinct to kill other dogs when they begin to pick on him. Norvell explains that “White Fang has learned not to attack dogs, and so he soaks up their abuse for Scott’s sake” (Norvell 2). Previously, White Fang only knew how to survive through fighting and killing to rule out competition. Scott treats White Fang with love and patience, so White Fang adapts to this behavior and changes his way of life. Instead of resorting to violence, White Fang ignores the other dogs and behaves calmly, showing how Scott is an overall good influence on White Fang. Virginia Crane agrees, stating that “allegiance and affection for a man springs from this good treatment, and White Fang becomes ‘The Blessed Wolf’” (Crane 3). Because of Weedon Scott’s good nature, White Fang finally learns to love and care. This marks the end of his days as The Fighting Wolf, and the beginning of his new reputation as The Blessed Wolf.
White Fang’s behavior changes to ensure survival in each environment, suggesting the idea of Social Darwinism. London includes this particular philosophical idea because of White Fang’s two opposing behaviors and how his ability to easily adapt and survive proves that he is one of the stronger dogs in the idea of survival of the fittest. The use of Smith and Scott “enables Jack London to again examine behavioral adaptation via principles of Darwinian evolution. He shows how chance, nature, and external influences function as forces that shape all animals’ evolution” (Vermaas “White Fang” 1). Vermaas suggests that London’s use of White Fang’s adaptations and behaviors further demonstrates the idea of Social Darwinism. The external influences are Smith and Scott, who both play important roles in White Fang’s behavior. During these times in White Fang’s life, “they were his environment, these men, and they were molding the clay of him into a more ferocious thing than had been intended by Nature. Nevertheless, Nature had given him plasticity. Where many another animal would have died or had its spirit broken, he adjusted himself and lived, and at no expense of the spirit” (London 222). London describes how White Fang is strong and portrays Social Darwinism due to how he easily adapts to environments that would cause weaker animals to die off.
During White Fang’s time with Smith, White Fang is shaped into a brutal wolf due to the poor treatment he receives. White Fang quickly adjusts and lives this new life of violence, which would typically be a struggle for other dogs. Crane argues this point by reminding us how “repeatedly, [White Fang] is brought to the edge of extinction, only to recover by adapting to the laws that govern his own nature and the laws that structure his new environments” (Crane 4). Each environment has a different set of laws. London again articulates this idea through the laws of the Wild, and how “White Fang knew the law well: to oppress the weak and obey the strong” (London 187). By learning these new laws, he is able to modify his actions accordingly. Matthew Bruccoli believes that the “domestication of the wolf is complete when White Fang sires a litter of pups, thus proving that adaptability is the key to survival” (Bruccoli 1). The internal conflict and major change within White Fang is complete at the end of the novel when White Fang becomes accustomed to the domesticated lifestyle. He begins to act more like a house dog, rather than a wolf in the wild fighting to survive. White Fang shows how the theory of Social Darwinism will have an effect on one’s behavior, since it will cause one to adapt to changes in environment while fighting for survival.
Through the influences of Scott and Smith and the ideas of Social Darwinism, White Fang provides evidence for one’s behavioral adaptations. This idea is demonstrated within White Fang’s adjustments to survive within the different environments. The ideas of Social Darwinism further explain White Fang’s major transformation in behavior through the different needs of survival. One will adapt to different influences and environmental surroundings over time in order to live and prosper.
Bruccoli, Matthew. “White Fang.” Student’s Encyclopedia of American Literary Characters (2009): n. pag. Bloom’s Literature. Web. 3 Dec 2015.
Crane, Virginia. “White Fang.” Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Literature Series, Supplement (1997): 1-2. Literary Reference Center. Web. 10 Nov 2015.
London, Jack. White Fang. New York: Macmillan Company, 2003. Print
Norvell, Candyce. “Critical Essay on White Fang.” Novels for Students 19 (2004): n. pag. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Nov 2015.
Reesman, Jeanne Campbell. “White Fang.” Critical Companion to Jack London: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion (2011): n. pag. Bloom’s Literature. Web. 3 Dec 2015.
“Social Darwinism.” Encyclopedia Britannica (18 March 2016): n. pag. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 22 March 2016.
Vermaas, Lori. “White Fang.” Encyclopedia of Themes in Literature (2011): n. pag. Bloom’s Literature. Web. 12 Nov 2015