Primitive does not mean simple
Inside all of us is a wild thing
Sometimes the primitive wild is not as simple as you might think. In The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, the primitive is more complicated than I thought was possible. It is hard to read a book that is uninteresting, but it is harder to read a book that is too interesting. Excellent writing is not easy to understand fully.
Because the book is 150 years old, there were a lot of words that I didn’t recognize. I had to sit down and put all of my attention into reading and highlighting. I also had to look up many words, and reread many sentences. I was planning to just skim over the book for homework, but there was just too much to unpack for this to be possible. A hundred and twenty pages doesn’t feel like a lot, but when it is philosophical and deep, it takes a lot longer to read. The greater meanings weren’t the only difficult parts of the book. The vocabulary was so expansive that almost every couple of sentences I had a few highlighted new words. When I took breaks from reading, I found my thoughts drifting back to the book. To be honest, it was an excellent book. The chapters all had strong themes that were obvious and popped up in multiple places throughout the story, and these themes were generally the chapter names. Secondary characters were only there to applify themes like: love, fear, obedience, and hatred. All of the influences from the minor characters created the overarching theme of being primitive.
The way that the powerful, canine main character, Buck, went from a pampered house dog to a primordial beast was an interesting concept. I realized that it is possible for anyone I know to undergo this transformation. Everyone is made to be a beast, but we humans have domesticated ourselves. The words and themes might have been difficult to decipher, but I took something important away: circumstances can change, and humans could be thrown back to the wild like Buck. This relation to the real world made me feel much more positively about the book. The hours spent reading it felt a little bit more worth it.
The only way to comprehend the greater meaning is to immerse yourself fully in the struggle to understand.