The Call of the Wild by Jack London

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

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.

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