The True Nature Of War In Literature
In “War” by Jack London and “The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy, the authors explore the negative impact of war and its dehumanizing nature. Although one is a short story and the other a poem, both connect to each other with a common anti-war message through a demoralizing tone. Through literature, London and Hardy force readers to consider how demoralizing and dehumanizing war truly is, and the truly harsh consequences of battle.
London’s short story “War” focuses more on the irony and cruel aspects of war to create a general anti-war cry. An example of this is during a scouting mission, our protagonist goes through some common struggles of war. The author uses harsh and almost lonely diction such as “loneliness”, “companionship”, and “death-dealing” in order to strike a depressing mood for his war story. As such, this language sets a lonely and sour mood with the use of almost depressing diction.
A second example of this in War is During an unfortunate run in with the enemy, our protagonist is shot at and experiences the worst of war. To clarify how horrible war can be, London uses irony to explain how war can make any mercy become deadly. “They laughed at the unexpected eruption of apples, and clapped their hands in applause for the long shot by the man with the ginger beard.” This line is ironic because the very man our protagonist let live killed him. This use of irony set a demoralizing mood and contributed with the author’s message that war is rash, unforgiving, and violent. Overall, War by Jack London shows the perspective of a dead man as he struggles through a rough war. By using literary techniques, the author illustrates the lifestyle war forces on the soldiers.
Furthermore, another phenomenal piece of literature, The Man He Killed by Thomas Hardy, highlights the mental trauma that soldiers face during war. The poem demonstrates this well after what may be a soldier’s first kill, we see him contemplate about whether he should have done it or not. “I shot him dead because he was my foe, just so: my foe. Of course he was!”. This quote has a much deeper meaning to it than it seems. It digs into the mindset of a soldier after he kills a man, as he tries to excuse his actions because he had to or because the man was his “foe”. This is Similar to War in the fact that both pieces explore the mindset of a soldier, and not just the physical aspects of war itself.
Another amazing example of the consideration the soldier goes through is in another example of regret in the line, “Had he and I but met by some old ancient inn, we should have sat us down to wet right many a nipperkin!”. This quote explores the possibility that maybe the two men could have been friends if the circumstances were different. Similarly, in War, we see our protagonist out scouting when he spots an enemy soldier. Instead of shooting him, he takes pity and lets him live, only to be killed by him later. This may also suggest that out protagonist in The Man He Killed may have been right to do so, as the man he killed could have come back to kill him. Just like War, The Man He Killed explores the mental trauma and regret war ensues on its soldiers.
Overall, reading and comprehending both of these texts together helps us and anyone else that war is cruel, unforgiving, and demoralizing. It helps us understand that soldiers are real people and not ruthless killing machines. It helps us understand that every soldier is just like you or me.
Wolf Larsen’s Legacy
In the novel The Sea-Wolf by Jack London, Wolf Larsen’s spirit lives in Humphrey. Even though Wolf’s philosophy about life differs from both Humphrey’s and Maud’s, Humphrey’s interaction with Wolf impacts him to the extent that he takes on some of Wolf’s characteristics, thereby shielding Maud from the world’s cruelty that Wolf symbolized. On one hand, Humphrey’s exposure to Wolf shows him an alternative lifestyle and philosophy from the one to which he is accustomed, causing Humphrey to revert to Wolf’s way of life, whether unconsciously or consciously. In contrast, Maud exhibits the same characteristics of frailty and need for protection throughout the novel and remains unaffected by the savagery and cruelty of Wolf. Clearly, Wolf makes a stronger impact on Humphrey and his spirit continues by Humphrey’s imitation of him, as well as his role as Maud’s physical guardian.
By the end of the novel, Humphrey evolves from a privileged and helpless man to one who proves his strength and capabilities by easily taking over Wolf’s place as captain of the boat. The cruel environment Humphrey experiences on the boat causes him to alter his beliefs. By observing the reality of life and the need for strength, Humphrey’s actions parallel Wolf’s philosophy that a man must do whatever necessary in order to survive. Humphrey expresses joy when he says, “I felt myself a man of power as I looked at it. I did it! I did it! With my own hands I did it!” (p 274). Humphrey expresses his happiness when he realizes that he is just as equal and capable as other men. He exhibits confidence and no longer feels inferior. In fact, Humphrey feels like “a man of power,” similar to Wolf. Humphrey implies that in times of struggle, he is no longer helpless, but can muster the strength to overcome any hardship, just as Wolf had done in his never ending quest to survive. Throughout the novel, Wolf claims the role of the powerful man, but now Humphrey equates himself with Wolf, implying he feels superior to other men. By mentioning his “own hands,” Humphrey exhibits a transformation; prior to joining the crew and Wolf, Humphrey never used his hands for physical work, and therefore never proved their strength.
Throughout the novel, Humphrey realizes that strength of a man’s hands represent his ability to survive. When deciding what to do with Wolf’s body, Humphrey recalls “the spirit of something I had seen before was strong upon me, impelling me to give service to Wolf Larsen as Wolf Larsen had once given to another man” (p 279). At an earlier point in the novel, the savage action of disposing a body by dumping it in the ocean horrified a dignified Humphrey. Wolf Larsen’s example of a man who does whatever it takes to survive impacts Humphrey by causing him to thrust Wolf’s body overboard, just as Wolf had done so many times. Without Wolf to make decisions, Humphrey takes on the responsibility of solving problems. By performing “service”, Humphrey confidently assumes Wolf Larsen’s position. At the same time, the reader might consider the “service” a duty a leader has to his followers, and by doing so Humphrey changes places with Wolf Larsen.
Maud remains true to her spirit by supporting Humphrey and relying on him to ensure her safety, which reveals that her exposure to Wolf and his extreme will to survive does not affect her. When Maud comes aboard the ship she seems delicate and frail, indicating that she relies on the physical strength of others to keep her safe. By the end of the novel, Humphrey keeps Maud out of danger and “hurriedly led her aft to the safety of the poop” (p 280). As soon as any sign of danger appears, Humphrey instinctually ushers Maud to safety as a result of her neediness. Maud’s exposure to Wolf does not alter her original persona. Rather than becoming a survivor like Humphrey and Wolf, Maud maintains her role as a physically weak person in need of protection. Maud does not resist Humphrey’s urgency to take her to safety, further she proves her weakness by passively accepting Humphrey’s offer which enables Humphrey to defend and shield her from evil. Since Humphrey now feels powerful, he becomes her protector. Humphrey refers to Maud as, “My woman, my one small woman” (p 280). In contrast to Wolf’s mental and physical strength, Maud appears tiny. While Maud cannot change her size, she chooses not to alter her level of emotional strength even after her interaction with Wolf and witnessing his insistence to survive.
Humphrey’s comment not only points out Maud’s fragile stature, but also indicates possession of her by using the word “my.” By allowing Humphrey to act as though he owns her, Maud implies that she is open to having others claim her as property rather than asserting herself. Humphrey’s statement reinforces Maud’s need for someone to take responsibility for her and shows that the Wolf’s determination to survive did not affect her. This vigorous protectiveness is a sign that Humphrey has absorbed the best of a character once contrasted with him, and perhaps avoided the worst.
London, Jack. The Sea-Wolf, New York: Random House, 2000.
Struggle For Freedom In Jack London’s The Call Of The Wild
‘The Call of the Wild’ is a book by Jack London that is set in the midst of the gold discovery that influenced large masses of people to travel into Canada’s regions hunting for gold. The narration follows Bucks story in his journey as a sled dog whose demand increases after the discovery of gold. The author employs different ideas in his writing that elaborate on how different experiences are applied to show the hard life of Buck. Buck takes difficult tasks than his ability thus risking his safety and life. An individual’s perspective about life changes through experiences of taking potential risks, seeking freedom and joy.
Jack London uses Buck as the protagonist of the story to expose various concepts that surround Buck’s life are influenced by the call of the wild. It is evident that dogs are treated as domesticated animals that rely on humans. However, Buck and other dogs are engaged in challenging roles without any humans to take care of them. For instance, when the gold hunters run short of dog food, the dog form a group where buck is the leader. The author suggests that the new dogs were afraid while buck and the old ones knew what their masters lacked the skill to guide them. London states, “Not only did they not know how to work dogs, but they did not know how to work themselves”. It is a wild idea to assume that dogs are more competent than humans keeping in mind that they do not have sense like human beings.
At some point in the narration, Buck is freed from his bad masters by John Thornton during one of the trips and becomes committed to his new master. The author uses the story of Buck to elaborate different themes that expose the challenges and risks that the dog endures due to the growing desire of the wild in his master. Thoronton freed Buck but after a while, his demands from the dog increased pushing him back to a state that limits his happiness as a domesticated animal. Buck and the other dogs endure challenges in the hands of their masters and the harsh life that surrounded them. The author states, “Though unpursued, they were in a sorry plight”. That statement shows how Buck and the other dogs lived a life of fear because the humans failed in their duty to care for them. On the opposite, the dogs took upon themselves more difficult tasks than their ability thus risking their safety and life in general.
As the story advances, the author outlines another idea that matches the topic as Buck Joins the wolves where he plans to become their leader. It is a wild idea because, in reality, wolves are recognized to be bigger and fiercer than dogs. In that case it’s not convincing for a dog to lead a pack of wolves despite its popularity in fighting humans and other dogs. In the story, the author postulates that “Here and there Buck met southland dogs, but in the main, they were the wild wolf husky breed”. These creatures turned Buck from a civilized dog to a bloodthirsty wild dog.
The Call of the Wild discusses various ideas using the dogs and humans to support the topic of the story. The dogs engage in acts that need skills and reasoning like human hence struggling to live that kind of life. Buck serves as the lead dog where the team of the dog is sold to various gold hunters who end up treating them brutally, putting their lives at risk. Jack London uses the idea of the dog moving away from humans to find freedom in the wild. A dog as a domesticated animal should be better in the care of humans. However after the death of John Thronton, Buck feels the loss of his master. However it moves him away from the civilization which gives him a feeling of freedom. Buck went through lots of rough experiences risking his life and safety to find freedom. His perspective changed throughout his journey, once a civilized dog to a bloodthirsty creature. An individual’s perspective about life changes through experiences of taking potential risks, seeking freedom and joy.
Analysis Of Buck’s Character Development In The Call Of The Wild By Jack London
In the novel The Call of the Wild written by Jack London, Buck was stationed as a compelling leading character who undergoes multiple character developments throughout the novel due to nature and nurture. London’s approach of characterizing Buck has been highly recognized by Donald E. Pease in his essay “Psychoanalyzing the Narrative Logics of Naturalism: The Call of the Wild” as to explain Buck’s transformation due to the changing environment he is surrounded by. While Barbara Hardy Beierl, in her essay “The Sympathetic Imagination and the Human-Animal Bond: Fostering Empathy through Reading Imaginative Literature” reflects the idea that the gain and loss of human-animal connections act to pressure Buck’s character change. I intend to show that Buck’s character development in the novel is the consequences of naturalistic behaviour as this is what Jack London conveys most clearly in regard to his use of character progression.
London’s work takes on influence from the works of The Theory of Evolution as he portrays the ideals that Buck is influenced by the surrounding environment. In particular, we see that with the harshness of the north: “his development (or retrogression) was rapid. His muscles became hard as iron, and he grew callous to all ordinary pain”. London clearly instills this adaptability in Buck to hint out his capability to survive. Buck is molded by the changes in his environment, thriving because he possesses the necessary genetic gifts of strength and intelligence to adapt to his volatile circumstances. The physical transformation of Buck has given rise to his change of character, as he became more ambitious for leadership. Thus, London demonstrates where his stance is put on the nature vs nurture debate as through the strengthening of Buck through the aforementioned events, we see him change to adapt to these. It seems Pease has similar conclusions regarding Buck’s transformation stating: “the agent of the free indirect discourse appeared to have been acted upon by Buck’s innermost sensations so as to transcribe Buck’s drives and bodily intensities”. The “free indirect discourse” mentioned by Pease is a type of third-person narration that acts to manipulate a character’s consciousness. London’s pursuit of manipulating Buck’s character mirrors the great impact of Darwin’s evolutionary theories. London takes into account that Buck who once lived in “the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley”, was provided with the domestic comforts of Judge Miller’s estate. Buck quickly learns the brutal world of dog-sledding — the “law of club and fang” in the hostile environment of Northland. This reflects that the fundamental deciding factor of how individuals change, in London’s mind, is the hardship they endure that allows their true character to show. Indeed, London’s belief lies in that Buck is further developed as a character through the unlocking of his innate savage through environmental pressures and that he has always bared these traits within him.
London has placed Buck in conflicts with human beings, to enact further character change through guiding him to a more civilized state; however, this does not play the same fundamental role as his environment. Throughout the story, Buck has multiple masters, one that provokes a dramatic change in the novel is John Thornton. No one had given Buck “love, genuine passionate love” like this, “it was his for the first time”. This affection from Thornton does not contribute to the development of Buck rather, this passage’s sole purpose is to establish the human-animal bond that humanizes the relationship between Buck and his owner. The introduction of love’s existence in Buck’s world of mental state is solely just a feeling. It does not induce any change in Buck’s character; further proving the point that London’s fixation on personal development is seeded more heavily in their genes rather than how they are treated. This is exemplified by the fact that in this sentence, there are only intangible words such as love and genuine passion. To London, these are mere abstractions that are independent to the physical change brought about in Buck. In effect, these feelings of love, and the warm affection he receives from his companions, human, and dog, do not have any bearing on his survivability in the Arctic. Indeed, Thornton was “the ideal master”, he “had saved his life” for which Buck greatly appreciated. However, London instilled a strong personality that is difficult, nigh impossible to change through emotional connection. What really initiates Buck’s character transformation is the urges of his inner being. The “call of the wild” that guides Buck through multiple character developments, resurfaces his innermost true form. Without hindrance of social constraints of his owners or others of the pack, Buck is truly able to succumb to the full power of his “primordial beast”. London illustrates that Buck prioritizes nature more than even the only human that ever showed him affection he could understand. When Buck was brought to the wilderness along with Thornton, “he no longer marched”, he “became a thing of the wild”. London also portrays Buck’s reaction towards nature as an “instant and terrible transformation” which turned him into an untamed beast. Buck has great dedication and remarkable for Thornton, yet still, he unleashes his true identity simply through exposure to wilderness. We must come to realize that Buck’s transformation was driven by his natural instincts, while his master shows no control over his thirst for blood and freedom.
London embraces the freedom and pride one can obtain as a pathway for Buck’s character development. Referring back to the scene when Buck’s loving master, Thornton, is killed by the Yeehats, “it left a great void in him”, yet this experience had a smaller bearing than we would expect on Buck. London saw the opportunity to emphasize that even in the heart of the most emotional event in the entire book, Buck’s natural power was exaggerated, leaving “carcasses” about in a savage manner. Many could argue that this was in order to enact revenge on those that killed his closest friend, yet, when specifically analyzing the word carcasses it does not have connotations connected to revenge. Rather this word engages the reader in feelings of primordial carnage, the true nature of Buck, the wild savage wolf, is able to escape free from the shackles domestication. Buck felt “great pride” in the killing, “a pride greater than any he had yet experienced”, in killing man the highest prize. Although this can be taken as revenge on the life of Thornton, the emphasis on the killing changes the argument once more to the fact that London is allowing Buck to take hold of his most primitive urges. The “law of club and fang” no longer constricts Buck’s naturalistic being, Buck is freed from the chain of command comprises of men and clubs. London leads Buck’s character change in a climactic order, where men play the part to forbidden this dramatic change by asserting dominance through the “club”. London celebrates the fact that reward comes in the way of those who conquer their fears, in a very similar way, Buck attained pride from conquering and the freedom to unclothe his wild and savageness that is stored within him. With this, London’s stance on nature vs. nurture is settled as in London’s eyes a score must be settled first with overcoming obstacles in your surroundings to become the animalistic being you were genetically coded to be. Heredity is more important than the way Buck was treated and it was only a matter of time as well as hardship that allowed him to pursue this side of him.
The Call of the Wild utilizes the development of Buck from tame house-dog to fierce wolf pack leader to describe the effects of naturalism and how its effect is felt much stronger than the effects of the comfort and preferential treatment he receives. London suggests that readers should draw a connection between the divided nature of Buck’s primordial state and the nurture he receives from his masters. It all draws to a simple conclusion that animals and humans share common traits and experiences because of their evolutionary connection and this is much more influential than the care given in Jack London’s eyes. London’s use of evolutionary principles has further proven the effect of nature on Buck’s character development in the story. After considerable thought about this, The Call of The Wild is not a story of how events transformed Buck, turning him rabid, rather this is a story of how these conditions allow an individual to revert to their state determined from birth.
A Report On The Book 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. Graveled driveways approach the house with wide-spreading lawns under tall poplars. With great stables, rows of vine-clad cottages, long grape 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 neither 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 unforgettable 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.
Historical Significance Of Call Of The Wild By Jack London
Call of the Wild is a story about a dog forcibly taken from his home and forced to adapt to his situation during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush in the Alaska Yukon region. While the story goes on to follow the main protagonist, a dog named Buck, it demonstrates thoroughly the historical properties of the time. As it slowly goes from civilization, to madness in the wild we follow along this dog’s journey across the modern world at the time and gaze into history from an inhuman standpoint. This knowledge will be used to understand the historical significance of the gold rush. Once Buck arrives in the territory of U.S Alaska he gets underway with the task of policing and mail carrying with his new masters Perrault and François. From town to town they complete their tiring task all the while gazing upon every type of person imaginable. They don’t know why they’re there all they know is that man found a yellow rock in the wild and now all lots of life are flooding to the area to try their hand at getting some. The grueling task they had was job of many dogs at the time as many were worked to death to complete jobs for men and women and get done what they were told to do or face death.
Once Buck and his team were bought by a new group of people, Hal, Charles, and Mercedes, they faced a new task of traveling long distances without rest and food. All the while dealing with their new master’s ignorance and inexperience. This was commonplace at the time for people to come from all over, most never having experienced snow and cold in their lives, suddenly thrusting themselves into their new life or death situations. Many would die along the way of diseases, camping raids from other gold hunters, Indian attacks, and grizzly murders at saloons and bars over bets and money. Because of Buck’s irresponsible new owners and their ignorant ways of running the team, he gets picked up by a man named John Thornton who takes him in. Shortly after, his previous masters come to their icy fates at the hands of the river and are washed away. Thornton represents a typical, muscular, Alaska hardened man. He is well experienced and knows the ways of nature like a select few at the time did. The way he goes about in his plans and his business doings show that people like him during the gold rush had a clear advantage over others and were more than likely more successful in their survival.
“When they halted, the dogs dropped down as though they had all been struck dead. Mercedes dried her eyes and looked at John Thornton. Charles sat down on a log to rest. He sat down very slowly and painstakingly what with all his great stiffness. Hal did the talking. John Thornton was whittling the last touches on an axe-handle he had made from a stick of birch… the Call of the Wild…” The book clearly demonstrates the hardships of the time and really puts you into multiple different perspectives. Showing without hesitation the bluntness of the Alaskan wilderness as many come and go from Buck’s life. Either dying or passing on to a different life style. While on their journey they will be giving vivid examples of every kind of person they meet and sometimes how they fit or don’t fit this hard life.
Analysis Of Jack London’s Use Of Anthropomorphism In The Call Of The Wild
In The Call of the Wild, Jack London writes about his main character, the dog Buck, as if he were human. London writes the novel from Buck’s perspective. Buck’s life is changed forever because he must transition from having it easy as a house dog to the hard life of a sled dog. Buck thinks and feels as if he is human, and the events in his life have a strong effect on him and his behavior. Buck’s character clearly shows the conflicts of humans and animals against nature. Animals and humans yearn for safety, love, and acceptance. London uses anthropomorphism as his primary literary technique to allow his readers to identify with Buck by giving him human qualities, thoughts, and behaviors.
First, this device or technique is when a writer gives human characteristics such as ambitions, emotions, or behaviors to animals, gods, or objects. Anthropomorphism is sometimes confused with personification, but there is a slight difference. Anthropomorphism aims to make an animal or object behave and appear like it is a human being; personification gives human characteristics to something that is not a human an observable description. Writers use this literary technique for various purposes, but the main reason is to appeal to the reader. London does not have Buck speak or walk upright, but he does give the dog human thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.
Second, London uses anthropomorphism to represent Buck’s human qualities throughout the entire piece by detailing his emotions and feelings. Buck feels and expresses emotions like a human. He exhibits outrage, turmoil, hostility, love, and loyalty a colorful amount of times all through the novel. At the beginning of the novel, London can illustrate Buck’s human qualities by describing his crushing feelings of anger and hostility after he is taken. After he is taken, Buck plots how he will get his revenge on the humans who took him. London utilizes anthropomorphism by writing, “They would never get another rope around his neck. Upon that he was resolved. For two days and nights he neither ate nor drank, and during those two days and nights of torment, he accumulated a fund of wrath that boded ill for whoever first fell foul of him”. London depicts Buck’s emotions of deep love and loyalty by using Buck’s relationship with John Thorton. After Thornton was violently killed, Buck returns to the site of his owner’s death every year to show his love, respect, and loyalty were truly undying. This friendship allowed him to cope, prosper, and survive.
Equally important, London uses anthropomorphism to show how Buck thinks and reasons like a human. Some people may question whether a dog or animal can think. London’s portrayal of Buck is convincing enough to the audience and writes, “ Sometimes he thought of Judge Miller’s big house in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley, and of the cement swimming tank, and Ysabel, the Mexican hairless, and Toots, the Japanese pug; but oftener he remembered the man in the red sweater, the death of Curly, the great fight with Spitz, and the good things he had eaten or would like to eat”. In this excerpt, Buck is sitting by the fire and thinking about his past life. He is thinking about his family, previous canines, and his beginnings.
Finally, London uses anthropomorphism to show that Buck exhibits the human behavior of perseverance. The title of Chapter Two, “The Law of Club and Fang”, is an example of how Buck learns that perseverance was required to survive in the extreme wilderness. London writes, “He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on things that lived unaided, alone by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive”. This illustrates the understanding Buck has to quickly adapt to his surroundings and he must do whatever it takes to survive. The detailed anthropomorphism London uses, depicts the human behavior of perseverance to show that only the strongest survive.
By using anthropomorphism in The Call of the Wild, Jack London allows the reader to realize that humans and animals have traits capable of being both cultured and wild. Also, this device allows the reader to make the connection between people and animals. By making the connection, it allows the audience to realize that good and evil exist in the world. In life, humans and animals want to feel secure, to feel love, to feel success, and be a part of a family. This literary technique allows London to tell the story and the reader to identify with Buck, because people feel the same anger, have true loyal friendships, think back on past experiences, and never lose sight of a goal.
- eNotes Editorial, 2 May 2010, london-shows-buck-have-human-164093. Accessed 19 Nov. 2019.
- Literary Devices, 2019, literarydevices.net/anthropomorphism/. Accessed 8 Nov. 2019.
- London, Jack, 1876-1916. The Call of the Wild. New York: Macmillan, 1963.
- ‘The Call of the Wild Study Guide.’ The Glencoe Literature Library, Glencoe McGraw-Hill, www.glencoe.com/sec/literature/litlibrary/pdf/call_of_the_wild.pdf.
Literary Analysis Of The Call Of The Wild By Jack London
The Call of The Wild by Jack London is an adventurous novel about the story of a young St. Bernard named Buck who is stripped from his peaceful home as a domestic pet and turned into a stone-cold sled dog in the midst of the Klondike Gold Rush. The story shows the evolution of Buck after he is abducted from a peaceful ranch in a rural part of Canada where he ruled. When he’s taken, he is transported through many areas until he is finally sold off to a French Canadian man named Perrault. Along with his colleague Francois, Perrault starts to raise Buck to become a sled dog along many other canines with polarizing personalities. As a homegrown dog with everything to himself, Buck is forced to rekindle his natural instincts. This is not only required to perform as a sled dog, but also needed to survive in the extreme conditions of the harsh Canadian and Alaskan winters. Although a quick learner, these attributes will not come without hardships. Buck will have to face many challenges such as finding independence, teamwork, and controlling his pride which are all prominent reoccurring themes in the book. Through Jack London’s extremely descriptive authors style the reader is truly able to follow and visualize Buck’s story every step of the way in The Call of The Wild.
The story begins in 1897 with a dog named Buck residing a large house in Santa Clara Valley, California that is owned by Judge Miller. One day a poor employee of Miller’s sneaks off with Buck and sells him off to a group of people who knock him out and put him into a baggage car. The group of men takes Buck to a camp owned by a man in a red sweater who beats him into submission with a club after he tries to retaliate multiple times. Other dogs circulate through the camp until eventually Buck and another dog named Curly are transported onto a ship with two men named Francois and Perrault, along with two more dogs named Dave and Spitz. Upon arriving to Dyea beach, Curly is attacked by a pack of huskies and is killed; Spitz finds this humorous which causes Buck to feel hatred towards him immediately. After the matter Buck quickly learns how to pull a sled and three more dogs are added to the sled team. The first day cycle passes, and Buck starts to see the first signs of his natural instincts returning, three more dogs are added making for a full team of nine led by Spitz. Tensions start to rise between Buck and Spitz as he repeatedly attacks Buck during points in which he is weak. After more tension builds a rabbit chase leads Buck and Spitz to the fateful battle; Spitz starts to overpower Buck at first, but, Buck is able to fake him out and finish Spitz with a bite to the leg. Buck promptly accepts the leadership position in place of Spitz and the team is able to reach their final destination in record time. This allows them to gain fame for a short while, Francois and Perrault however, were led elsewhere from their executives and the team is sold off to group of Scotsman.
The Scotsman focus on more heavy loads rather than making good time and they also recollected more memories of Bucks ancestors from the primitive times because of their physical features. Thirty days later they are handed off to a new very inexperienced team of three young people, along with six new under qualified dogs making for a team of 14 dogs; unrested from the last endeavor, the sled starts back up again. The poor resource management and general neglect of the new team leaves all but five dogs dead and the rest barely alive. They finally reached John Thornton’s camp and although warned of the dangerous state of the frozen lake, the group insists on moving forward. Even after being beat with the club multiple times Buck refuses to continue on with the team seeing the formidable future; Thornton and Buck then watch the rest of the sled crew drop down into the icy lake, never to be seen again. Buck starts to regain his strength back while his bond with Thornton becomes unbreakable, but, his natural instincts also start growing rapidly and he begins to hear strange calls from the forest. Buck ends up saving Thornton’s life twice, and winning him a 1600 dollar bet with a rich man that he couldn’t pull a 1000 pound sled. After Thornton moves up north with the money, Buck befriends a timber wolf after finally answering the call of the forest. He continues to leave camp for extended periods of time until he creates two different identities for himself; a wild animal and Thornton’s dog. One day when he is returning to camp he finds that Thornton and all of his acquaintances has been slain by the Yeehat Indians; out of vengeance he kills most of the tribe, while scaring the rest of them off. Buck comes back to the wolves to fully integrate himself into the pack and according to the Yeehats, returns to the valley of Thornton’s death every year to mourn his fallen master.
The tone of The Call of the wild is primarily expressed through Bucks emotions in the book. London obviously feels positively towards Buck, but also sympathy when describing his emotions. A good example of this is when he is describing the Bucks emotions while he is locked up in the cage by the man in the red sweater, “And Buck, truly a red eyed devil as he drew himself together for the spring, hair bristling, mouth foaming, a mad glitter in his blood-shot eye.” The tone here is intense and suspenseful because of the way that London conveys it through the way Buck feels. The diction of The Call of The Wild presents a formal and extremely descriptive word choice when describing certain events in the book. An example of this is when we are introduced to Judge Millers home in the beginning of the book, “Buck lived in a big house in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley. Judge Millers Place, it was called. It stood back from the trees, through which glimpses could be caught of the wide cool veranda that ran around its four sides. The house was approached by grappled driveways which wound about through wide-spreading lawns and under the interlacing boughs of tall poplars.” These very in depth description of the exterior of the house was not needed to understand the story, but contributes to the imagery and Jack Londons extremely descriptive diction.
London uses a large amount of figurative language in The Call of the wild; mostly consisting of imagery, symbolism, similes, and metaphors. During the time Buck attacks the Yeehat Indians, London writes, “It was Buck, a live hurricane of fury, hurling himself upon them in a frenzy to destroy. He sprang upon the foremost man (it was the chief of the Yeehats), ripping the throat wide open till the rent jugular spouted a fountain of blood.” In this sentence there are 2 metaphors, along with imagery; the reader is able to clearly visualize the Indians throat being ripped opened along with feeling all of Bucks built up rage against the Indians. An example of a simile is when buck finally starts to realize the progression of his physical being after becoming an experienced sled dog, “His development (or retrogression) was rapid. His muscles became hard as iron, and he grew callous to all ordinary pain.” In this simile, it shows the progression of buck from a domestic dog, to a sled dog by comparing his muscles to iron. There is one main reoccurring symbol throughout entire the book, being the man in the red sweater from the beginning of the story. After Buck is beaten by the man in the red sweater and truly defeated for the first time in his life; he is introduced to the philosophy of primitive law, “That club was a revelation. It was the introduction to the reign of primitive law, and he met the introduction half way.” Primitive law is a reoccurring idea in the book that simply means strength rules, and every time this idea presents itself, Buck relates it back to the man in the red sweater.
The sentence structure of The Call of the Wild is very parallel and descriptive. London uses many compound complex sentences when describing important events like Buck running with his pack in the winter night, “When the long winter nights come on and the wolves follow their meat into the lower valleys, he may be seen running at the head of the pack through the pale moonlight or glimmering borealis, leaping gigantic above his fellows, his great throat a-bellow as he sings a song of the younger world, which is the song of the pack.” This sentence includes two independent and two dependent clauses to create a very descriptive sentence. London maintains this structure most of the time throughout the book to create lots of imagery in the important parts of the story. This formatting makes the book a lot more interesting to read because the reader can feel like they are experiencing the book first hand.
Although there are many themes in The Call of The Wild, the most prominent one in the story is survival of the fittest. Buck is able to prove that he is the alpha dog by out living over 15 dogs in the same situation as him. By regaining his instincts and learning from others, his decision making and physical capabilities become unmatched. “When he saw Pike, one of the new dogs, a clever malingerer and their slyly steal a piece of bacon when Perrault’s back was turned, he duplicated the performance the following day, getting away with a whole chunk. A great uproar was raised, but he was unsuspected; while Dub, an awkward blunderer who was always getting caught, was punished for Buck’s misdeed.” This contributes to the theme because it shows that Buck is more fit to survive than some other dogs, and is using his favorable attributes to get away with mischiefs, and in turn, reap the extra rewards. Another example of survival of the fittest is when buck refuses to go over the icy lake and decides to stay at Thornton’s camp instead, “They saw Charles turn and make one step to run back, and then a whole section of the ice gave way and dogs and humans disappear.” This contributes to the theme of survival of the fittest because Buck was the only dog smart enough to stay back at camp. He then watches the rest of his team sink down into dark water knowing that he made the right decision. The last example of survival of the fittest is when Buck takes down a wild moose “At the end of the fourth day, he pulled the great Moose down. For day and night he remained by the kill, eating and sleeping, turn and turn about.” At this point in the book, Buck has now become the apex predator, and has regained all of his natural instincts back from his ancestors. He then proves that he is at the top of the food chain by taking down a moose by himself; this further re-enforces the theme of survival of the fittest.
The Call of The Wild is an adventurous novel about Buck’s epic journey after being abducted from his home in California. Through hardships and turmoil, Buck is able to fully regain his natural instincts and become one with the wild. Jack London conveys every aspect of the story amazingly through his use of imagery and descriptive writing. Throughout the book he has expresses the tone through Bucks emotions. He uses symbols metaphors and imagery to help visualize the book in every part. His sentence structure is a mix of compound complex sentences to describe important events in the story, and simple sentences to describe the less vital parts. And the themes presented can teach great life lessons. When you think about it The Call of the Wild is truly a masterpiece.
- London, Jack. The Call of The Wild. Macmillian Inc., 1903.
Jack London’s Representation Of His Own Life Experience In The Call Of The Wild
Only those people who are endowed with strength and aggression can defeat their opponents and gain the right to survival and wealth. Jack London is the father of American proletarian literature. Jack London not only expanded the theme of the novel, portrayed the strange relationship between humans and animals, but also wrote novels reflecting the contradictions of American society in the early 20th century, which profoundly revealed the social evils of capitalists. In the novel, The Call of the Wild, Bulk’s experience in Alaska and the responsibility and honor for characteristics of Bulk are the work a good representation of Jack London.
Jack London’s own life experience and the hatred of the cruel society helped to shape his work – The Call of the Wild. From his early time to his old, Jack London has been to many places and has a lot of complex life experience, his own experience helps him to build his unique style of his story. In the analysis, Labor writes, “Sailor, hobo, Klondike argonaut, social crusalor, war correspondent, scientific farmer, self-made millionaire, global traveler, and adventurer…”. Jack London traveled around the world and also has been to Alaska. Such rich and colorful life experiences are not available to other writers. And it is these experiences that enable him to write novels that are incredibly true and deeply rooted in people’s hearts. Based on his real experience, Jack London puts the magnificent land into words, making The Call of the Wild full of charm. In addition, Jack London’s thoughts of this cruel society and the rule of the society helped shape his work. The author Zeng writes, “Naturalists believe that mankind is the product of environment, the power of , it is not the strongest of the species that can survive, but the one most responsive to changes.” Jack London had been wandering around the world, so he had seen the hardship and misery of different classes especially those at the bottom of society. With these real experiences, he was able to vividly describe the great gap between the hero’s fall from the top to the bottom in his novels. At the same time, taking himself as a portrayal, he depicted the change of the protagonist, and worked hard step by step until he succeeded. At the same time, because of his real experience, he hated evil. Readers can clearly feel the sense of justice in his articles. Jack London’s own life experience and his view of the reality of the society helped to form his unique style.
Secondly, the awe of nature and the point of view helped Jack London to write his work vividly. The setting of The Call of the Wild helps to make this work fascinating and immersive. In Mann’s work, he writes, “They went across divides in summer blizzards, shivered under the midnight sun on naked mountains between the timber… and flowers as ripe and fair as any the Southland could boast.” The setting of The Call of the Wild happens in Alaska. Alaska’s harsh and fascinating natural environment easily inspires deep urban people with a strong sense of awe of nature, and then the primitive impulse to fight against it. Moreover, the dog’s point of view and metaphor helped shape Jake London’s work. In Ashley’s work, she writes, “John Tornton, the strong, silent, noble type to whom Bulk becomes attached in the Yukon. The animals, however, are sufficiently humanized, and if they, too, are than with their lack of depth.” The Call of the Wild is a metaphor for human sociality with dogs, and for human wildness means wolves. Meanwhile, the South, which is Bulk’s home, is the symbol of warm home, and Alaska is a real society. This work is a metaphor for the degeneration and future of human beings. As readers, people can better substitute themselves into the characters in this metaphor and perspective, so as to have a spiritual resonance with the hero’s story. In fact, these stories and metaphors also represent the story of Jack London himself. In this way he buried his experience in the story. He is an author who likes to add his own emotions and real experiences to the story. That is why the settings and metaphor helped to make London’s work unique and attractive.
Additionally, in the book, The Call of the Wild, Bulk’s changes from the poor dog to the leader of the group tell us the inevitable triumph of the strongest individuals. From the warm south to Alaska, Bulk’s experience makes him become proud, cunning and stronger. London writes, “When he returned to his kill and found a dozen wolverines quarreling over the spoil, he scattered them like chaff.” This reflects that people have to keep working and fighting to win the stocks. It also shows the inevitable triumph of the stronger individual. Zeng also writes that, “Bulk becomes stronger and stronger by constantly changing himself, he finally adapts himself to the surrounding and survives.” When the protagonist enters an unfamiliar environment at first, he is at a loss. Any survival skills or fighting skills he didn’t know. So he suffered a lot. Later, he continuously improved his survival skills through his own efforts. Eventually he became the leader of the team and went after the life he wanted. As in London’s own experience, he went from being a poor tramp to a great writer. He brings that spirit into his book, inspiring readers.
Most people in American society lived in poverty at that time. And London’s work is the medicine that can inspire these poor people. That’s one reason he’s so successful. Secondly, Bulk keeps trying to adopt the harsh environment in the North and poor life conditions to make him stronger. In The Call of the Wild, London writes, “In less than five month, they had traveled twenty-five hundred miles but five days’ rest.” Bulk’s experience shows that people have to try to adapt to a different environment and know the hard of life so that they can succeed. Zeng writes, “Bulk struggles in the bottom class and fights against odds for basic rights to survival. He is in an extremely difficult environment full of challenges, and has to overcome them.” Through all of these, Bulk’s changes from a pet dog to the leader of a group show London’s idea the winner is always the strongest one.
Last but not the least, Jack London uses irony and personification to show the fact of human society. Firstly, Jack London uses irony to show the gap between the social class. In her analysis, Ashley writes that, “Bulk is stolen from his master and his respectable home in the South…he is forced to fight.” Bulk life from the South to the wild shows people’s maladaptation and hard times when they go to another social class. This helplessness from the top to the bottom also reflects the great difference in people’s lives. In this way, the author shows the huge gap between the rich and the poor in the current society. This also reflects the author’s hatred and ridicule of the society at that time. Moreover, Jack London uses personification to make a dog’s life represent human society. In The Call of the Wild, London writes, “Once more Francois called and once more Bulk laughed and kept away.” In the growing experience of Bulk, he kept fighting with the enemy to hone his ability. At the same time, he also experienced a narrow escape from death, daily struggle to the edge of death. All these experiences also represent the struggle in human society, whether different people or different classes. London’s work can point sharply to the contradictions between people. This point can also be supported by Ashley’ work, “In the novel, Bulk is an anthropomorphic dog, not an ordinary dog in its common sense, but a dog with life courage, power and pride.” To summarize, Jack London uses irony and personification in The Call of the Wild to show the facts of human society. To put it in a nutshell, Jack London represents his life experience, ideas and his characteristics well in The Call of the Wild. All of these factors made the unique Jack London – a great writer and a pioneer of ideas.
The Theme Of Existentialism In To Build A Fire By Jack London
Jack London writes a tragic story about a man who has decided to journey along through excruciating sub-freezing temperatures of the Yukon and how that man becomes victim to the power of nature that happens to be unrelenting and unforgiving in the short story “To Build a Fire.” The man in the story ended up falling into ice and into water that was in a hot spring and getting his feet wet. With the bitterness of the cold, “one hundred and seven degrees below freezing point” (London). To save his life he needed to get a fire started to be able to keep his feet from freezing in which turned out to be one partly successful attempt at starting a fire and a few pitiful attempts, resulted in the noticeable lonely struggle the man was enduring against the hostile environment. The man went into panic to try to bring back any feeling at all to his limbs by “running around like a chicken with its head cut off” (London). The man finally becomes calm and faces the reality of death that faced him. The main theme of this story which is portrayed by many existentialist writers is that man lives a lonely life which is shown by the unrelenting and unforgiving forces of nature; a subtle part of this theme was the goal that the man set for himself to find the meaning of his existence.
Philosophy that puts its entire focus on the difference and solidarity of a sing person in a hostile and ordinary universe is existentialism. This type of philosophy is what the theme of this story is because it is just a lone man traveling across huge amount of land which has cruel and indifferent environment to test his limits. When the story is being wrapped up, London writes about how the man final comes around to realize that he should meet the fate that is awaiting him with some dignity, in return giving an actual meaning to what would have been a cruel and meaningless death. The existentialism theme of “To Build a Fire” was put in the intentional design by London than rather being a mere coincidence. So it is no mistake that the heart of the store lies in an existentialist theme.
The theme of existentialism was done in multiple ways by London. The biggest and most important was the selection of where the story takes place. The setting for this story takes place in the frozen wilderness of the Yukon, where its winters are intense and “there was no sun nor hint of sun” up in the sky (London). How London places this lone character in this terrible and brutally cold environment, there was a creating of that seeing that the epitome of existential. Since the wilderness of the Yukon is absent of individuals that could have served as a traveling companion for the man, which paints the picture that the man is by himself in the universe for the existentialist idea. London did not even give the man a name which put a distance between the reader with the setting that is deadly, thus putting the man more alone in the bleak and hostile universe.
Another important element that London used to draw a picture and emphasize the theme was by using imagery. Imagery was relied on heavily by London to being able to create the mood this story, and it helps draw the terrible environment that the man has to endure. London had the ability to illustrate how deadly and severe the harsh weather of the region was where a reader could almost hear the “sharp, explosive crackle” when the man spit and it froze before hitting the ground. With such vivid imagery, London was able to lead the read visually along the path with the man was “losing in his battle with the frost” (London), and being able to envision the conflict the man endured with the cruel and uncaring universe.
Lastly London uses irony to help stress the existential theme. As the man is traversing, he is trying to find signs of dangers that he would like to avoid but then falls through ice where there was no signs to warn him. After the man was able to start the fire to thaw out his feet the universe had snow fall and snuff out the fire. To help keep the existential theme of the man being alone in the uncaring universe, the reader must not see the dog as a companion but as an expansion of the uncaring environment. When the dog was introduced it was able to save itself without clothing, fire, or food. The dog is not like the man due to the fact that it cannot share the same burden of a lost soul. By being able to emphasize on the essential parts with irony, London was able to direct the attention of the reader to the terrible indifference of the nature and showing the existential theme of the man living alone in the harmful and indifferent universe.
Jack London’s style is on a classic side and was able to create an exciting story that had a tragic unforgettable tale that illustrated a modern philosophic theme. The theme of the story is a journey that a man takes to find a since for the sufferings of his lonely life in an environment that is aggressive and mediocre to his sufferings. London was able to paint us a picture and highlights the theme in three different ways: by the choice that was picked for the setting, through imagery, and the artful placement of irony throughout the story.