The Call of the Wild


Significant Quotations

The Call of the Wild is known for its quotations that make observations about animal behavior that are equally applicable to human behavior.      

Quotation One:  That club was a revelation. It was his introduction to the reign of primitive law, and he met the introduction halfway. The facts of life took on a fiercer aspect; and while he faced that aspect uncowed, he faced it with all the latent cunning of his nature aroused.

This quote occurs in chapter one.  It is the narrator’s explanation for Buck’s response to beating beaten by the man in the red sweater.  The quote reveals that the club really was something new for Buck, who had not previously been able to comprehend the idea of men being capable of that kind of violence.  It also critically reveals the fact that the beating, while it hurt Buck physically, did not hurt Buck’s spirit.  He comes to understand that he cannot directly challenge an armed man, but that does not mean that he must internally submit to them.   One sees an example of this later in the novel, when Hal is beating Buck in an attempt to get him to cross the too-thin ice; Buck does not violently resist the beating, but he also refuses to move forward onto the ice.

Quotation Two: They were savages, all of them, who knew no law but the law of club and fang.

This line is found in chapter two.  It reflects Buck’s feelings about the dogs that he encountered when he moved to the North.  It shows that he understands that his life has changed and that he will have to follow the new rules, which he refers to as the law of club and fang, to protect himself in his new life.  He understands the role that violence will play, but also the role of seeming submission and not fighting unless victory seems likely. 

Quotation Three:  And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again.  The...

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Essays About The Call of the Wild