Call of the Wild Essay

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The Call of the Wild

Suffering has been a part of human life since the dawn of time. It is part of our journey in this life. Some suffer less and some suffer more; however, in the end we are destined to suffer no matter what. The Call of the Wild by Jack London emphasizes suffering and gives meaning to such suffering. The novel is about a dog that gets captured and taken into the wild during the time of the Gold Rush. He is faced with unstable conditions where he must either adapt or die. Buck overcomes his suffering because he adapts to his new conditions and because of this he reaches his full potential. Buck’s life was very effortless and comfortable before he was kidnapped. In the beginning of the book, the author gives us a sense that Buck lived a very good life. London describes how wealthy the land where he lived was and then he affirms that: “Over this great demesne Buck ruled… The whole realm was his.” (London 3) This quote shows how much prestige Buck had as a dog living with the Judge. Buck also escorted the Judge’s daughter’s and at night he rested by the fireplace where he was kept warm. Buck’s luxurious lifestyle before the kidnapping is what makes his story so great. Buck lived a comfortable life and he was never challenged to build his potential, however because of his primitive instincts that lived inside of him he was never fully domesticated. The author points out in the beginning of the story that Buck: “Had saved himself by not becoming a mere pampered house dog. Hunting and kindred outdoor delights had kept down the fat and hardened his muscles; and to him, as to the cold-tubbing races, the love of water had been a tonic and a health preserver.” (London 4) This shows the primitive side of Buck, his strength, and cunning. Although he had the life of a domesticated pet he never fully became domestic, because of his deep instincts that raged inside of him is a foreshadowing to what he was to become in the future. Even though he was never challenged, his instincts that eventually leads to his transformation kept him hunting in which resulted in his strength that would eventually cause him to become the wolf he were destined to be. The Call of the Wild’s theme of the transformation of Buck from a civilized dog to a primitive wolf is inevitable. Through constant foreshadowing the author shows Buck’s ancient primitive instincts that lead up this transformation. Even the name of the book refers to the calling of Buck’s long dead instincts to the wild. The foreshadowing of his instincts that lead to his transformation is expressed by the London: “[Each] day mankind and the claims of mankind slipped farther from him. Deep in the forest a call was sounding, and as often as he heard this call, mysteriously thrilling and luring, he felt compelled to turn his back upon the fire, and to plunge into the forest” (London 121) Although his love for his owner John Thornton was genuine his instincts kept calling him to the wild that reveals to the audience the transformation that would eventually occur. However I feel that Jack London’s story about the transformation and suffering of Buck is much deeper than the literal meaning of the novel. The first suffering Buck experiences is betrayal. Buck always had a faith and respect for humans. However, this was soon to change when Manuel, the Judge’s gardener, decides to kidnap Buck to sell him, so he could pay for his gambling debt. When he gets captured by Manuel with a rope the author states that at first: “Buck had accepted the rope with quiet dignity… He had learned to trust in men he knew, and to give them credit for a wisdom that outreached his own.” (London 5) However he soon realized that the man was actually trying to do him harm and as London states in the same page: “But to his surprise the rope tightened around his neck, shutting off his breath.” (London 5). The pain Buck suffered was more mentally than physically because it was not just the rope around his...
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