The Call of the Wild by Jack London has been on my reading list for the last couple of years. I am glad I have finally crossed it off the list. The story follows Buck, a princely dog living at Judge Miller’s estate in Santa Clara. A gardener on the property kidnaps Buck and sells him to a dog trader. Buck is taken away from everything and everyone familiar and thrown into an entirely different world.
The discovery of gold in the Klondike has created a demand for dogs like Buck, a St. Bernard mix. Buck has a nice life at Judge Miller’s estate until he is kidnapped and sold off by a gardener from the estate. Buck is proud and strong. He fights the moment he is out of the crate but is beaten by a club. He sees some other dogs arrive after him and receive similar treatment. Later, he is purchased by two Canadians for their sled dog team. He learns to adapt to these new circumstances pretty quickly for survival until he finds John Thornton, who is kind to him.
The relationship between the man and the dog is a crucial thematic element of the story. The relationship dynamic between man and dog is one of coming to depend on each other. Buck and the sled dogs provide a transportation method, and in turn, they are given food and protection. Buck learns and changes as his masters change. He was a glorified guard dog for Judge Miller. Once he becomes a sled dog for Francois and Perrault, he becomes fierce and a leader. John Thornton later finds him and is the kindest master Buck has had in a long time. Buck is loyal and protective of him. So, the relationship between man and dog keeps changing and ever-evolving throughout the story, almost co-dependent one can say.
Buck was pampered and protected at Judge Miller’s estate. He sat by the Judge’s feet and played with his grandkids. He was used to a civilized way of living. Once he is kidnapped and sold, he is thrown into the deep end. He fights at first but starts realizing that for him to survive, he must adapt. He is corrected once, and Buck never repeats the mistake. He lets go of the civility he had in California and learns to embrace the call of the wild. Buck realizes early, that he isn’t going back to the Millers’, and if he wants to survive he has to let go of his old self and evolve. He becomes a good leader and a loyal companion. The harsh and abusive treatment he suffers at the hands of the dog traders is a little difficult to get through, but it makes sense from a plot point of view.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London is an interesting adventure story, and it is completely narrated from Buck’s point of view. The plot is engaging and moves ahead mostly well, but it just lacks a bit of pace in some chapters. The narration through Buck’s character makes the story unique and adds a grounded feeling to the plot. Overall, it’s well-written, engaging, and with an interesting plot. I enjoyed reading the story.
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