The Call of the Wild is a novel by American writer Jack London published in 1903.
The novel tells how a domestic dog, sold as a result of a combination of circumstances as a sled dog at the time of the Gold Rush, returns to his natural instincts when faced with traps and the harshness of Yukon.
Buck was born of a cross with a collie dog pure breed Scottish (Shep) and a saint bernard (Elmo). It belonged to a lawyer from the Santa Clara Valley (Upper California), judge Miller. In 1897, Buck has been stolen away from his master by the judge’s gardener, and sold to a breeder of sled dogs: at the time of the gold rush, robust dogs were sought by prospectors bound for the North and the valley of the Yukon.
Soon, faced by the harshness of his new condition, Buck had to find the strength to survive and adapt to the cold of Alaska and the Yukon. Before impose other dogs in the pack, he learnt to steal meat and to fight and eventually took charge of the pack. He was sold and resold several times, until he became the property of a respectable master, John Thornton. But when Thornton was killed by “Indian Yeehat,” Buck found in himself the instincts of the wolf and killed the attackers. Returned to nature in the middle of the Wild, the great Canadian north woods, he mingles with a pack of wolves, where he became the dominant male.
The images of death, cruelty, and Darwinian allusions to the struggle for life are ubiquitous throughout the story. London described the wild forest as a world dominated by fear (“The salient thing of this other world seemed fear”).
Jack London sailed in 1897 to participate in the gold rush of the Klondike. Suffering from scurvy, he repatriated and began to write on the basis of its experience in the Canadian North. He gets recognition with The Son of the Wolf, but the real success came with The Call of the Wild in 1903.
This is one of the most widely read novels of Jack London, and is generally considered one of the most successful. Often classified as a “novel for young people” because the hero is an animal, the plot however contains several very cruel and violent scenes. This joyful and sad book is enjoyable to read.
Jack London tried to repeat his bestseller in 1906 with White Fang, new story with a similar theme, although this time it was a wolf domesticated by a man from San Francisco.
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