The Call of the Wild


Chapter 7

Chapter Seven

Buck is willing to do whatever Thornton asks of him, and this becomes critical as Thornton and his team strike out in search of a gold mine that is rumored to have a huge amount of gold. Thornton uses the money Buck won in the sled-pulling bet to pay off some of the debts that he owes and to fund his part in the expedition. Together with his partners, Thornton heads into the wilderness.

This chapter focuses on the wilderness. For example, Thornton is completely comfortable with the wilderness, and he is able to hunt to feed the dogs, which places him in stark contrast with Hal, whose incompetence in the wilderness almost led to the death of the dogs. Buck finds himself exploring more of the wildness, traveling far but always returning to Thornton.

The chapter also provides a positive conclusion for Thornton’s search for gold. He does not find the fabled mine that he has been seeking. However, he does find a tremendous amount of gold. Having found the gold, the men commence to mining, which leaves the dogs with a significant amount of idle time. During this time, London reveals more of Buck’s internal life, fleshing out his visions of sitting by the fire with that ancient man. Buck is finally able to name the emotion that he felt during those interludes, and realizes that it was fear that bound the first dogs together with those ancient men.

During this idle time, Buck begins to answer the call of the wild. He explores the wilderness. One day he sees a timber wolf in the woods and tries to approach him. The wolf, fearing Buck’s size, runs from him. One is reminded of Curly seeking to become friends with the husky when she first arrives in Alaska and how that civilized dog lashed out in violence, which this wild wolf does not do. Finally, over time, the wolf allows Buck to approach him, and they sniff noses. This is a commentary on the fact that civilization is not necessarily friendlier, but that the rules of friendship are different in civilization and the wild.

Buck follows the...

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