The Call Of The Wild Literary Analysis
Domestication to Devolution
Releasing the inner beast
“...a man with a club was a lawgiver, a master to be obeyed, though not necessarily conciliated.” (London, 13)
Buck has been waiting for days on an express car for this moment, his time of revenge on the first person he saw. He launched his 140 pound body at the man, jaws open, ready to snatch his unready prey. Just before he reached the man he was knocked down in a swift blow from a club. He launched himself again at the man and again he was knocked down. Each blow was stronger than the last and eventually he lost his strength. As he sat dazed, the strongest blow of all hit him in the snout, hammering the point to never challenge a man with a club. This was when Buck first realized the wild law and order, and he knew he would have to adapt. In The Call of The Wild by Jack London, Buck adjusted from a pampered life as a house dog, to the grueling work of a work dog in Alaska. In that time, Buck realized stuff worked differently in the wild, and he would have to become a primordial beast to survive. Buck first realized of the wild law and order when he was hit with a club. That lead him on the trail to becoming a primordial beast that would steal food, fight dogs, and answer the call of the wild.
Death, for a sled dog, lurks around the corner. Buck only understood this after his first encounter with a man with a club. No matter how hard he would try, he would be beaten nonetheless and it was important that he understood that. If he hadn’t realized it, by the time he would have, his fate would’ve been sealed. Throughout the book, Buck knew how to keep himself alive and thriving. The first time we really saw this was when he fought Spitz. He bided his time as the tension built, and he only ended up fighting him when he needed to. Even in the actual fight Buck used the chaos of the other dogs to finish off Spitz after he had broken his leg.
He was beaten (he knew that); but he was not broken. He saw, once for all, that he stood no chance against a man with a club. He had learned the lesson, and in all his after life he never forgot it. That club was a revelation. It was his introduction to the reign of primitive law, and he met the introduction halfway. (London, 13)
Buck survived because he was able to quickly adapt to his surroundings and understand the wild law and order. His acute ability and the ferocious need to survive. Throughout the book the call of the wild became more and more prevalent to Buck, allowing him to become an alpha dog. The wild called for Buck, and he answered.
Domestication does not survive in the wild. Buck loses his innocent outlook on the world and others very quickly. It is not something that survives in the wild, so he adapts to have no mercy and to do anything to survive, no matter the collateral. Buck was not a thief, but after his already meager food portion was stolen multiple times, he had to go on the propel himself to find sustenance. Throughout his time in the wild his conditions became worse and worse, but he became more strong, tough, and cold hearted.
When he saw Pike, one of the new dogs, a clever malingerer and thief, slyly steal a slice of bacon when Perrault's back was turned, he duplicated the performance the following day, getting away with the whole chunk. A great uproar was raised, but he was unsuspected... (London, 15)
This is what leads Buck to eventually break off from the group and join the wolves. The death of everyone he cared about was the straw that broke the camels back, releasing the wild within Buck. This is an important theme because it truly represents a greater message in the book. Buck’s slow change from domesticated house dog to a primordial beast on the prowl shows how we must adapt to our surroundings, even if it means changing.
A good book is defined by what it represents in the real world. The Call Of The Wild by Jack London is a great example of how a book can make you reflect on the world and yourself. The book required me to be attentive to the themes, as the subtlety and nuance could easily be missed. I think that The Call Of The Wild was a book that was way ahead of its time, and its a classic because people still seem to resonate with it today. I entered reading The Call Of The Wild with excitement and nervousness. My brother had told me about how much he enjoyed reading it, and how he still talks about themes in his English classes. The book immediately captured me as I started reading, it had extreme detail while preserving the action. It honestly felt like I could’ve been Buck, which is such a hard thing for authors to do. Sometimes it was challenging to be able to respond and talk about the book effectively, but I found my way to the correct answers. Overall the book’s themes still stick in my mind since when I first read them. The overall themes of the domestication of devolution and the wild law and order were extremely relevant throughout the book. I related to Buck in his longing to join the wild and his ability to adapt to his surroundings. Jack London creates an unfamiliar environment and filled it with unfamiliar characters; Buck has to adapt to survive