Jack London’s Call of the Wild. Controversial Themes in the Novel. Buck Character Analysis
The Call of the Wild
What if you were torn away from, you home, your family, and everything that was ever familiar? Would you adapt, or be utterly enveloped in chaos? In the superb novel Call of the Wild by Jack London teaches us, his readers, that anyone or thing can be taken from his surroundings and hurled into a world where one must learn to survive. Buck, a domesticated dog from the sunny Santa Clara valley is forced into the Yukon because man needs the strength and durability he has if man will be successful in unearthing the yellow metal, gold. Now, he has two choices: endure the savage and ruthless world he now is governed by, or become a name forgotten, unable to keep his head above water when the rapids come. His life begins to change as he must use what he has, and adapt to harness the thing he does not possess. Slowly, instincts replace rules, and the wild became more friendly than savage, for he is more ruthless than a tiger on the prowl. Finally, a terrible transformation comes over him, forever erasing the dog who lived with the Millers, and replacing it with the great Ghost dog. Buck’s incredible life is merely an easel upon which London paints the theme of his masterpiece.
After Buck’s horrible trip to a place far different from home, he has to “learn the ropes” of this society, and modify to its rules. When he reaches Seattle, the Man in the Red Sweater is the man who teaches Buck the first rope, “The Law of Club.” As soon as he is within reach of the man’s throat, he has the freedom force, and almost the will to live, beaten out of him. Ready to expect what is to come, Buck travels to the Northlands. His first night was like most nights in that barren land; The ground is icy and cold, and sleeping the same way as in the Santa Clara Valley was out of the question. After an unsuccessful attempt at entering the tent, he walked throughout the camp, finally discovering that his mates burrowed into the snow to create a nice, warm nest. “So that was how they did it, eh?” Buck thought. (Pg. 705) His adaptation stage completed with a stealing move that not only got him away scott free. When Francois wasn’t looking, Buck made a sly move, taking some of his luscious bacon. Irritated, he scanned the area for the culprit, and his eyes settled upon, not Buck, bug Dub. Dub, the clumsy oaf, is blamed for Bucks cunning maneuver. “. . .Dat. Buck two devils.” Francios once said. (Pg. 719) After this early stage, I’d say I’d have to agree with him. Buck has learned the ropes. He adapts quickly and well.
Buck’s mind and soul do not stop with adaptation; ancient instincts that his ancestors used set in quickly. The most potent and easily seen example is when he chases a snowshoe hare. This may all seem normal, but you soon learn that there is only one thought in his mind,”To kill with (my) own teeth and wash (my) muzzle to the eyes in warm blood.” (Pg. 717) Soon after, a confrontation to the death with Spitz changes his life forever. Although Spitz is the more experienced, Buck triumphed over him. Why, you ask? “. . . Buck possessed a quality that made for greatness – imagination.” (Pg. 719) After the fight, Buck’s instincts did not stop coming. Sometimes, sitting around the fire, he sees a hairy man with a club, a man known only to his ancestors. Buck knew he cared the man deeply; he did not know it was a cave man from thousands of years before. As Buck’s instincts emerged, his control over himself weakens. He has passed the point of no return.
In the end, the terrible transformation takes place; the wild would not allow Buck even a breath out of its grasp. When he moves west with John Thornton, he begins to enjoy the wild. Soon, he runs into a timber wolf that’s less than half Buck’s size, and after much work and effort, becomes friendly with the savage from another world. Buck even follows the wolf through the woods, until his love for John Thornton turns him back for camp. Later, Buck spends a trip away from the camp looking for formidable prey, when he spots a monstrous bull moose. “He was in a savage temper, and, standing over six feet from the ground, was as formidable an antagonist as even buck could desire.” After four unimaginably grueling days for dog and moose alike, the moose is finally triumphed over by the courageous Buck using nothing less than skill that animals have possessed for millions of years. In the end, Buck faces a wolf pack of uncountable numbers, and, after a fight in which his mouth dripped of wolven blood, the pack decides to befriend Buck, and recruit him. It is said to have happened like this. “. . . an old wolf . . . sat down pointed his nose at the moon, and broke out in the long wolf howl. The others sat down and howled. . . . (Buck) too, sat down and howled.” Buck had truly answered the Call of the Wild.
Buck’s life shows that there are people who have an undying will you survive. First in adaptation, Buck modifies his life to fit that of the ones who survived the best. Then the instincts come from his primal ancestors long ago. Finally, the terrible transformation occurs that ends the mutilation of the soul that Judge Miller had created, by destroying it, and in that destruction, birthing something that only needed to be aroused, the Dominant Primordial Beast. Buck’s life in the north is not an isolated incident. Adaptation to “fit in” happens everywhere because humankind, or the great leaders anyway, will do anything to live. I believe that it will continue to happen even beyond Mother Nature and Father Time.
Knowledge Versus Instinct in Jack London’s Short Story to Build a Fire
Knowledge Vs. Instinct
In Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” he tells a story that compares a dog’s natural instinct versus a man’s knowledge which acts as his instinct. The story is based upon a man and his four legged companion walking several hours crossing the storm ridden tundra, in goal of meeting a few of his friends by a fire. The man is warned by others in the beginning that no one has successfully traveled by foot in such conditions, but he believed that his masculinity was more powerful than those who doubted him.
The journey starts off powerful and confident for the man, although he is unfamiliar with this type of climate and its conditions. As his limbs start to fall victim to hypothermia, he makes several stops to build warmth. His confidence level sank as he was troubled building the fire, due to his conditions combined with inexperience. Once he finally got a fire started, it ceases and the man decided to continue his journey, with his dog reluctantly leaving the warmth only to obey the commands of his master.
For the man, things do not go very smoothly at all. Several times throughout the story the man displays his inexperience and cannot acknowledge his mere amount of natural instinct due to being preoccupied by egotistical beliefs. In the beginning he forgets to build the fire to warm him and his companion until he accidentally steps into a half frozen spring, consequently freezing all below his knees with ice cold water. Once he builds said fire, he makes a mistake of inexperience by doing so under a tree topped with snow which destroys his fire, which he cannot rebuild due to losing his matches by handling them with numb hands. He realizes that the man who warned him in the beginning was right, and that he had made a terrible choice.
Once the man realizes he has no opportunity to warm himself, he attacks the dog to use his insides as warmth although he knew it would be impossible to kill it. The dog runs away and the man lies down. The dog watches the man to death, and gets closer to confirm. Once he does, he runs in the direction of the fire to where the man was headed, to find food and shelter.
Unlike the dog, the man was not capable of surviving. The dog had natural instinct on his side, along with being a different mammal. The dog had more fur for warmth, and other natural qualities that saved his life. For example, when the man built the first fire for a meal, the dog did not want to continue the trek, but rather stay where the fire was for warmth and to make shelter: “The dog dropped in again at his heels, with a tail drooping discouragement, as the man swung along the creek-bed” (London 1049) . In his next mistake, the man tried to send the dog into the icy spring first to check its stability, and the dog had the instinct to know better. When the man led them both into the spring the dog quickly chewed the ice off of his paws; an act of instinct deriving from experience. After the man attempted to kill the dog to use for warmth but once again failed, the dog realized the man had no chance at surviving and would only drag him to death with him. When the man tried to run to the camp in his final attempts at life, he failed. After watching the man die due to lack of the common sense needed to survive the tundra, the husky was able to run the distance because he was clearly faster than man, and more naturally inclined to survive the weather if there were no other option.
Experience is a quality that the man did not possess, and unfortunately for him experience is what evolves natural instinct. Although the dog had better chances of survival, the dog’s instinct prevented him from the desire to participate in the trek from the start. The man should not have held himself superior to the dog in this situation, as the native husky was accustomed to the conditions that he was helplessly attempting to endure. With no experience, he had no other hope than to rest in the warmth with the dog.
It is clear that the man’s natural instincts were not as concise for this climate as the dog. Rather than trusting his knowledge, he should have followed the dog’s instinctual cues; or rather the voice in the beginning, a human alike himself but with more experience who told him that he would never endure the conditions. Unfortunately, the man in the story ignored all of the natural instinctual cues provided by both his own and the husky which caused him to ultimately lose his life along with his viciously protected dignity.
Moral in Book “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.
Comparison of “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London and “Black Like Me” by John Howard Griffin
The two books I will be comparing are: “The Call of the Wild” and “Black Like Me”. The author for “The Call of the Wild” is Jack London, and the author for “Black Like Me” is John Howard Griffin. They have very different point of views from each other. Jack’s book is a short adventure fiction novel that’s about the Klondike Gold Rush. An adventure fiction is an event or multiple events stringed together that happen outside the course of the protagonist’s normal life (usually accompanied by danger). John’s book is nonfiction that is about a social experiment for racism. A nonfiction novel is a piece of writing that’s based on facts, real events, and real people. Examples for nonfiction novels include biographies or history pieces.
“Black Like Me” is written and played out by John Howard Griffin. He sought to discover on his own how bad racism really was, because there was no way to know by being a white male. He changed the complexion of his skin by “a medication taken orally, followed by exposure to ultraviolet rays”. By the end of his transformation when he looked in the mirror, he saw the polar opposite of his old self. John said, “I was imprisoned in the flesh of an utter stranger, an unsympathetic one with whom I felt no kinship”. He felt no connection to who he was a week earlier. He went to the areas where racism was the highest to understand the worst of it all. Everywhere he went, he took notes for this book and for this article he promised the man who funded his start. When he converted back to his old look, he reflected on his experiences and wrote this book.
“The Call of the Wild” occurred during the Klondike Gold Rush in Yukon, Canada. It began in August of 1896 and then ended in 1899. In 1897 Jack London (author of the book) left college to search for gold. He didn’t make any type of fortune but what he did gain from this was experience. Even though the book is a fiction, he used his knowledge to write this book and enhance the visualization of the readers. The main character is Buck, a dog who is half St. Bernard and half sheepdog. The gold rush in Yukon created a need for dogs to pull the loot they mined which is where Buck came in. Buck begins to learn the tasks associated with being a sled dog and his ancestry helps him with the instincts and his genes so that his body is ready for what he must face. His owners didn’t know what they were doing and treated the dogs terrible. Halfway through their journey, they lost 9 dogs due to starvation and mistreatment. They kept going until they got to Thornton’s camp where they had an altercation and Buck got loose. Eventually Thornton becomes Buck’s owner and they grow a strong bond towards each other. They protected each other but Buck felt his calling was in the wild. Thornton died and Buck turned into a wild animal.
If London used a different perspective on this book, it wouldn’t change the outlook of the book much. The point of view it is in now is third person limited omniscient. That means that the story isn’t being told through one of the characters eyes, and that the audience knows more than the characters themselves. If you changed it to first person, the only differences you would see would be that you would be seeing everything through the narrator as he sees it. If Griffin were to change his perspective on his book, it would change drastically. It is currently in the first person point of view, which means that the story is told through the narrator who happens to be the author because it’s an autobiography. If you switched it to third person, it would no longer be an autobiography. It would have to be in the eyes of someone else, therefore some details would be left out.
Personally I prefer to view a piece of writing in the first person point of view. My reasoning behind that is because first person makes it sound like you’re being told a story directly from the narrator. From third person point of view is like a story from someone else’s experience. 1st person feels more personalized because you’re reading it like you’re saying it yourself. 3rd person feels like outside knowledge.
I believed the first point of view a lot more for a few reasons. A big reason was because it was an autobiography which made it about the experiences they lived out. In general terms, first person lets you know the narrators thoughts, feelings, and anything else going on with the character. Third person doesn’t give you the luxury of owning all of that knowledge. Like I said before, third person comes from another person’s eyes so that they might leave out details because they don’t know them.
London didn’t use any rhetoric in his book. It was an informational book and wasn’t used in any way to persuade. Griffin used rhetoric a lot in his book. Caucasian people didn’t understand what slavery was like which was why he wrote about his experience. He was trying to get his readers to understand his experience with racism by his social experiment.
The Theme of Death in the Law of Life by Jack London
When put up against death, what extreme measures should one go through to survive? Often times we are unprepared for the events that are going to occur, leaving us with the two options of a fight or flight response. How we handle a situation has a lot to do with our primary instinct or our experience and overall characterization. In Jack London’s short story “The Law of Life” told by an unknown narrator, the readers are introduced to Old Koskoosh, described as being “last year’s leaf, hanging lightly on a branch” (London 32) he is presented as being in conflict with himself. The idea of man vs man is revealed as consequence of his desire to remain alive, but on the other hand accepting the fact that he is going to die. He has been abandoned by his tribe and put into this situation as repercussion of reaching old age and no longer being able to keep up with the rest. In respect to once being the chief of his tribe, he was very knowledgeable on the tribes traditions including, being replaced as chief by his son. One of the story’s key issues is whether individuals should act upon their initial instincts or their emotions to further delay the inevitable ending that awaits every individual, death. London’s extensive use of symbolism, atmosphere and characterization assist him in presenting the predicament Old Koskoosh is in. Does he fight for his life, or accept that he is unequipped to face the harsh environments and conditions of nature?
Throughout the story, Koskoosh is reminiscing on the actions of his family members and tribe, his past experiences, and his view on life. As he is left alone to die in the cold, “he stretched forth a shaking hand which wandered over the small pile of dry wood beside him” (London 30) connecting him to the length of life he has left. The handful of wood that was supplied to ensured the fire was kept going, symbolized ing the life of Koskoosh, because everytime a stick was added to fuel the fire once more he had the strength to revisit a different memory each time. As Koskoosh listened to his surroundings, his first memory was of his granddaughter Sit-Cum. As he sat in solitude in freezing temperatures, he described her to be “too busy to waste a thought on her old grandfather” (London 30) symbolizing not only life but the harsh traditions of his tribe. She symbolized a new generation and the role women might play in the story. While he awaited the long trail of his death, life was calling out to her and the responsibilities of new life brought into the world, “to become the mother of [their] children…when a child cried, a woman calmed it with gentle singing…her task was done” (London 31-33) her fate was decided for her she would provide what man cannot and she to would be left as he had been left in the snow with a small pile of wood, claiming that was the tradition and law of the tribe. The desire to live outweighs his ability to accept his death in an instant, as he looks beside him and continued to recall memories from his youth. His grandaughter is mentioned again but this time to put blame upon her and claim that if “sitcum-ha had remembered her grandfather, and gathered a larger armful, his hours would have been longer. It would have been easy, But she was always a selfish child” (London 35) the internal conflict and the depiction of Old Koskoosh goes hand in hand creating the struggle of man vs man. Old Koskoosh is old, his sight is failing and the truth is being displayed everywhere, he grabs onto the idea of his last encounter, but later decides to put up a fight and he continues to place another stick to fuel the fire.
However, as the narrator presents the story and events begin to unravel further he foreshadows the outcome about the fate of old Koskoosh through a change in attitude on life. As he shifted the attention to his son-the chief, a leader, and a mighty hunter he revisited times other old tribesmen sons had not waited after the tribe had gone, unlike his son had, amongst them himself. The once chief of his tribe, was familiar with the law and the idea that it needed to be obeyed he knew the tribe was extremely old consisting of many prior generations stating that the old men he had known growing up had known many other old men before them who all reached the same ending whose final resting places remained unremembered, “they were not important, they were chapters in life’s story” (London 32) coming to the conclusion that death was inevitable. Immediately, the atmosphere becomes sad and vulnerable, he eventually realizes that nature does not care and all men must die noticing “the flashing forms of gray, the bright eyes the dripping tongues and the sharp teeth” (London 36) circling and moving closer and closer towards him. He acknowledged the presence of the animals and placed another stick upon the fire and returned to his thoughts. This time his attention was directed to a moment in which he was hunting alongside a friend of his, Zing-ha. He reflected on their various encounters with the creatures of the wild, noticing that when age “settled upon a rabbit it became slow and heavy… even the bear grew old and blind, to be dragged down at last by a small group of barking sled dogs” (London 33) connecting him to the situation he is in. His memories shifted from positive and motivating events that granted him a positive way of leaving earth to ones that were too dull and made him helpless putting him in a position that would lead him to depart with regrets and a list of things that could have been done differently to increase the time he has left on earth even if it meant, only minutes longer.
Although he was reaching his final point in life, he chose to use his final hours reflecting and ultimately accepting his fate and the law of life becomes clear to the reader.
However, there were instances in the story that suggested otherwise and the readers are demonstrated the predicament of Old Koskoosh and how “for a long time he recalled the days of his youth, until the fire grew cold and frostbite deep. He places two sticks in the fire this time” (London 35) developing his characterization. The elements that contributed to the theme of the story are not only the symbolism and atmosphere used to develop the plot and present the readers with possible reactions to various situations. The characterization of Old Koskoosh demonstrated that we could choose our own path because in the end it was the law of life. Eventually he was face to face with death, in which his primary instinct was to grab a stick from the burning pile and put it up against the beast. As a human our life’s goal is to remain alive and do what we can to insure our spot on earth “the beast drew back, raising a call to his brothers” (London 36) he was fighting and he was waving “his flaming stick, widely, but the beasts refused to scatter” (London 36) like any individual we react instinctively in the face of a life-threatening situation. Although he had been reminiscing and accepting his fate, it was a natural instinct to not hold back and do what he could to remain alive.
As he is head to head with death, and his only method of survival being the flaming stick. He lets go of the efforts for survival he has left and once again accepts his final fate. Old Koskoosh begins to question life, existence, and purpose of individuals asking, “Why should he so desire life?” (London 36) noting that there was nothing left for him. There was nothing that could fuel his desire to continue fighting like the sticks were fueling the fire, ” one by one they would go feed the fire, and just so, step by step, death would come closer to him. When the last stick had given all of its heat, the frost would begin to gather strength” (London 32) he asked and sought answers but eventually dropped the burning stick into the snow he described it to have made a slight noise and then there was no more fire. What was once a measure of his life no longer existed just as he would no longer continue to take a breathe, swept of his own existence. The continuous battle within himself said a lot about Old Koskoosh characterization. His perspective on the situation and the constant internal conflict he was up against allowed the readers to further appreciate the present and acknowledge what we possess. Although “nature was not kindly to the flesh, and had no concern for that single thing called the individual” Koskoosh was a fighter who knew when it was time to surrender and move on.
In conclusion, I believe it is important to take into consideration the critical role Old Koskoosh played. He made the story compelling and moved and interested most if not all individuals because the theme of death is something everyone who comes across Jack London’s “The Law of Life” will understand and be familiar with. Suggesting regardless of who you are nature is not making any exceptions for anyone. Everyone will come face to face with death but the only difference will be the way of doing so. Koskoosh, took the simple way out, although it was at the teeth of a pack of wolves he became understanding of the position he was in. As the final piece of burning wood was extinguished, Old Koskoosh life was being terminated as well representing when the time has come for us to depart, there is little we can do to prevent the inevitable. An event and idea in which the tribe is greatly familiar and relatively okay with leaving people for many generations to provide for themselves. Furthermore, Old Koskoosh characterization development teaches readers that life is a journey and everyone will make what they want of it, what is uncertain is the time and day of our death.
Personification in the Call of the Wild
Personification shapes the readers’ perception of Buck’s emotional state because it informs, compares, and reveals his development in Jack Londons’ The Call of the Wild. Buck grows and changes over the course of the novel, and his emotional state is displayed to the reader. London uses metaphors and similes to compare Buck’s personality to concrete things. London helps readers identify Buck’s emotional state by using personification.
In this story, personification helps reveal Buck’s emotional state. For instance, “Love genuine love was his for the first time”(42). In the context of this, London describes how Buck felt for John Thorton: he felt genuine love. John Thorton was not just Buck’s master, but he was a father figure. He was treated more as Thornton’s child. London differs the owners in detail as a way to show how different people treat their dogs. Every dog is treated differently. For example, one person may be kind and fair, but another one may overwork and beat them. This helps identify his emotional state because it makes readers more aware of how Buck’s feels about his owners and of his emotions. Also about how he feels after being sold and how he might start to develop trust issues. Personification makes us feel more if Buck is a human rather than a dog. We feel more sympathetic and understand him better and we can maybe relate to him if we have ever felt as if change was necessary for our environment.
Comparing Two Lives
Furthermore, personification helps compares Buck’s two lives. “He did not steal for the joy of it, but because of the clamor of his stomach. He did not rob openly, but stole secretly and cunningly out of respect for club and fang”(14). In ambience of this, London describes how Buck felt while stealing the food from his masters. He had done this because they only feed one piece of fish and that would not satisfy his hunger. Buck understands that if he would’ve gotten caught then he would be beaten, he knows this from experience. Buck has accumulated many new traits from his new environment; he is a very adaptable dog.
Additionally, personification reveals Buck’s intelligence and retrogression. “The first theft marked Buck as fit to survive in the hostile Northland environment. It marked his adaptability, his capacity to adjust himself to changing conditions, the lack of which would have meant swift and terrible death.” (13) In the context of this Buck steals and that marks him as fit for the Northland. He is ready and has fully adapted to the new land. His imagination has grown, killing Spitz was another way of showing the team that he’s tough and is boss.
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 Downfall of a Man Amidst Nature in to Build a Fire by Jack London
Imagine if you were trying to survive in the middle of Alaska with little food and no one else around to help you. In “To Build a Fire” by Jack London, that is exactly what the man is trying to do. The man is so caught up in himself and endures a lot of hardships. The emotional center of the story is whether or not the man will survive. The most climactic moment of the story is when snow falls from a tree and puts out a fire that the man has built. He looks for anything that will keep him warm, and he even was going to eat the dog but had no success.
The downfall of the man is his cockiness and his unwillingness to listen to other people. The emotional center of the story is seeing if the man will survive or not. The man is traveling through Alaska and is trying to get to his friends, who are at a mining camp, but doesn’t realize how cold it is outside. Jack London says, “Undoubtedly it was colder than fifty below – how much colder he did not know. But the temperature did not matter. ” (London 1-2). The man is new to the territory and is traveling through Yukon but doesn’t realize how dangerous the outside can be. It is fifty degrees below zero which is not ideal weather for traveling. It doesn’t matter to him because he thinks he is tougher than everybody else and is so full of himself. It is extremely cold and his chances of surviving are not good. When the snow from the tree puts out his fire it all seems hopeless. The snow falling from the tree is the most climatic moment of the story. The man is trying to find a source of heat to dry himself out and so he builds a fire. Jack London says, “It grew like an avalanche, and it descended without warning upon the man and the fire, and the fire was blotted out! Where it had burned was a mantle of fresh and disordered snow. ” (London 7).
The man’s fire was extinguished and his only source of heat vanished in the blink of an eye. The man will do anything to keep himself warm. At one point he tries to kill the dog that has been following him around but has no success. The snow diminishes any hope of him surviving. When the snow drops from the tree and diminishes his fire he begins to panic. His only heat source is gone and unless he finds any source of heat he will die. The man begins to look for a heat source and he even tries to kill the dog that was tailing him. When the man fails to find some sort of heat source he begins to run. He runs for a little bit but eventually he runs out of energy. Jack London says, “Freezing was not so bad as people thought. There were lots worse ways to die. ” (London 11). He gives into death like a man and thinks of other ways he could have died. As the man is dying he wishes he wouldn’t have been so arrogant.
The man learned a valuable lesson in “To Build a Fire.” He was so caught up in himself that he didn’t realize how dangerous it really was during the winter of Alaska. When the snow from the tree fell on his fire it was the end of his trek. The man did learn from his mistakes but by then it was too late and his consequence was losing his life.
Jack London’s Call of the Wild. Controversial Themes in the Novel
Faces getting ripped open, people falling into an icy river, and a fight between two of the toughest dogs on the land; These unfortunate events seem to have nothing in common but they are all events in Call of the Wild, by Jack London. In that novel, Buck, a dog from the Southland finds many tools for survival up north in Alaska, and in his journey to be wild and free, there are some themes that he encounters which are wrong and outdated. Some of Jack London’s most controversial themes can be proven wrong such as the fact that women are inferior to men, materialism will destroy your life, and that some people are born superior to others.
Back when Jack London wrote Call of the Wild, women weren’t equal to men, but now, women have reached equality with men in every aspect of life. First of all, Curly, one of the only girl dog got her face “ripped open from eye to jaw” (15) because she is too curious. Jack London thinks that all women are curious and that it is a fatal trait to have. In the novel, he seems to be punishing all women by making Curly’s face get ripped open. But it is not true because curiosity makes people ask more questions and helps you learn more. Furthermore, in another case, Jack London makes the woman being the setback of the group: “Mercedes nursed. . . the grievance of sex.” (62). Mercedes keeps on complaining about the hard work of the journey and crying that life is too hard for her. Women are able to survive in the wild as well as men and they aren’t the weaker sex. Some women can be better than men in many fields. They are as strong as men and they aren’t a pain to have around. Finally, Jack London makes a series of unlucky and unfortunate events happen to women like when “Dolly, who had never been conspicuous for anything, went suddenly mad” (31). One might think that it is a coincidence that Dolly suddenly gets rabies, however, Jack London chooses to make her get rabies just because she is a girl. And it is not just this occasion when she makes an unlucky event happen to a woman, he also repeats this when Mercedes falls into the icy river. He is trying to show that women aren’t as good as men in everything, and that they are unlucky and unfortunate to have. But women are a great group of people and they have made incredible contributions to the world. Nowadays, women are equal to men in every way, but a similar issue which affects modern life more is the impact of materialism.
Jack London’s idea of materialism is that it will destroy one’s life, however, there is nothing wrong with being materialistic. To start, Hal, Charles, and Mercedes didn’t die because they were materialistic, they died because they were stubborn and didn’t listen to anybody when he says, “It’s my dog. . . Get out of my way, or I’ll fix you. I’m going to Dawson” (68). They weren’t necessarily materialistic, they just liked to abuse their dogs. They also reluctantly agreed to the advice that was given to them before their departure but refuses to listen to John Thornton, causing their death. It is their attitude and stubbornness which killed them, not materialism. In addition, Jack London keeps on stressing that experience is the best way to learn, however, “Spending time with the wife and kids on a camping getaway costs money, but it’s the kind of spending that is worthwhile and fulfilling” (money.usnews.com). One needs money to have a memorable experience. If one wants to go on a camping getaway, they would need money for tents, reservations, sleeping bag, and food. Without the trait of materialism, one would be sleeping on a rock without a tent or a sleeping bag in the middle of nowhere. It is materialism which makes one enjoy an experience and it is materialism that makes a memorable experience possible. Lastly, materialism creates a better world to support ourselves: “. . . materialism could enhance our well-being and help create the conditions in which we can all thrive whilst living within our planetary means” (gaiafoundation.org). Materialism enhances our lives and creates the right conditions to work, play and learn. It helps everyone thrive, even the poorest kids in Africa, by assuring them that they could grow up to be a rich man. And even the middle class of America benefits from materialism, because without basic goods bought with money, it would be impossible to survive. Without those basic goods, such as food, water, and clothing, our lives would be a complete mess. Materialism will not destroy one’s life, and is necessary to enjoy life so there is nothing wrong with it.
Some people seem to be superior to others, however, they all work their way up there and nobody is born superior. Buck, the main character in the novel seems to be superior to everyone when “. . . he showed himself the superior even to Spitz. . .” (43). However, he wasn’t born like that. When Buck first arrives at the Arctic, he is just a normal sled dog, and he feared Spitz. As they journeyed together, Buck slowly rose up to be a leader and challenged Spitz to his position. Buck wasn’t born superior, he just slowly rose up to the rank and defeated Spitz in a fight. Also, scientific evidence is required to prove that something is real, however, “. . . there is simply no reputable scientific evidence that anyone is born [superior]” (onenewsnow.com). If something is true, there must be some sort of scientific or mathematical evidence to prove it, however, in this case, there is nothing to prove it. There might be some made up evidence on a non-reliable website, but that evidence is not reputable. It is pretty simple to prove that nobody is born superior to another person because there is no evidence supporting it. In conclusion, throughout history, people have fought wars for equality and justice, and that “[nobody] could be superior or worth more than another.” Many of those people believe that “. . . all people should have the same rights and the same responsibilities as one another” (philosophytalk.org). Throughout history, people have been saying that everyone is born equal, and now, our rights and responsibilities are protected by the constitution and the UN. But it is the people’s choice on how they use their rights, responsibilities, and their lives. They could work their way up from equal to superior, or they could work their way down from equal to less than equal. It is the people’s choice on how to spend their lives: they could be successful people or live in poverty. Everyone is born equal, but they choose how to use their lives, which results in many different groups of people.
Controversial themes such as women are not as good as men, materialism is horrible, and some people are born better than others are wrong and outdated. The lessons and philosophies in Call of the Wild are not always correct, and readers shouldn’t always believe everything they read. An author could write a book to express their ideas, but it is the reader’s job to compare it to the truth. Many of Jack London’s ideas can be proven wrong, but some are still correct. Some philosophies could guide people’s lives, as a lesson to tell a person not to do something, or as a statement telling people to live life that way.