The Call of the Wild



Buck is the main character and protagonist in The Call of the Wild.  He begins the novel as a pampered pet on Judge Miller’s estate.  Buck is already considered exceptional while living on the estate.  There are a number of dogs on the estate, but they are divided between house dogs and yard dogs; only Buck is given free rein over the entire estate.  He is loyal and protective of the judge’s grandchildren, but has faced no real danger on the estate.  In fact, he has only had positive experiences with human beings, which means that he is initially unprepared to deal with humans with bad intentions.  Soon, Buck learns that not all human beings are good.  A gardener’s helper, Manuel, kidnaps him to sell him to pay off gambling debts.  Manuel sells Buck to dog traders, who were looking for dogs to bring up to the Klondike because of the Gold Rush-inspired need for sled dogs.  Buck decides to attack one of the men in order to get free, but the man in the red sweater beats him savagely, but then pats his head, teaching Buck the Law of Club and Fang.  Buck is transformed into a sled dog, and with each movement away from civilization, he becomes simultaneously wilder and more violent.  With survival and freedom as his dual goals, Buck quickly reveals himself willing to do almost anything to survive.  Buck demonstrates cunning and intelligence; though he was not afraid of using violence, even against humans, he would not do so unless it would result in him attaining his goals.  Buck has an intense rivalry with Spitz, the initial leader of his first sled team.  Buck detests Spitz when they first meet because Spitz seems amused when a group of huskies attacks and kills Buck’s first post-estate friend, a Newfoundland named Buck.  Buck eventually kills Spitz, and he takes control of the sled team.  Killing Spitz reveals that Buck is capable of extreme violence, while his behavior after killing Spitz, when he uses cunning—not violence—to get his place at the lead of the team...

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Essays About The Call of the Wild