Call of the Wild

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The last true frontier

In the 1890s gold was found in tributaries along the Klondike River, once found tens of thousands of people flocked to Alaska to try a strike it rich. The primary mode of transportation in Alaska were sled dogs, these dogs were able to run up to 40 miles a day on just a few hours of sleep. The novel “Call of the Wild” is the harrowing tale of a dog plucked from his home and thrust into the deadly Alaskan Yukon, forced to either become a sled dog and carve out his own niche, or be trampled and killed by the Alaskan wilderness. Author Jack London uses actual customs, realistic dialect, and true to life characters to submerge the reader into the story.

Having spent many years in the Alaskan Yukon, London observed many of the customs of gold hunters and this greatly reflects in the book. “A miners meeting called on the spot, decided that the dog had sufficient provocation, and Buck was discharged.”(59) Small mining towns tried to judge someone as fairly as possible based on their crime, this is shown when the main character, Buck, attacks a man who beat his owner and is decided not guilty. More often than not, the small miner towns took the law into their own hands, making meetings to decide if someone should be punished for their actions or not. “I’ve got a thousand dollars that says he can’t. And here it is… I’ve got a sled standing outside now with twenty fifty-pound sacks of flour on it… so don’t let that hinder you.”(62) Buck’s owner bets a man that buck can pull a sled carrying a thousand pounds a hundred yards. In the Rugged Yukon many men settled disagreements with bets if a man won a bet then he was right and the other man was wrong, simple as that. The customs found in the Yukon were simple, many arguments were settled with a gentleman’s agreement, and simplicity of this was portrayed in “Call of the Wild”.

Jack London uses characters such as Perrault, a French Canadian, to express realistic regional dialect. “Eh? Wot I...
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