The Call Of The Wild


by Jack London 

Throughout the novel "The Call of the Wild", we follow a
dog named Buck on his journey through the Klondike. We
experience a transformation in him, as he adapts to the
cold, harsh land where he is forced to toil in the snow,
just to help men find a shiny metal. Buck seems to almost
transform into a different dog by the end of the book. 
When we first met Buck, he lived in the Santa Clara Valley,
on Judge Miller's property. He was the ruler of his domain,
uncontested by any other local dogs. He was a mix between a
St. Bernard and a Scotch Shepherd dog. He weighed one
hundred and forty pounds, and he carried every ounce with
utmost pride. Buck had everything he could want. Little did
he know, he would soon have it all taken away from him. One
night, while the judge was away at a raisin grower's
committee meeting, the gardener, Manuel, took Buck away
from his home. Buck was then sold, and thrown into a
baggage car. This would be the beginning of a new, cruel
life for Buck. 
On his ride to wherever he was going, Buck's pride was
severely damaged, if not completely wiped out by men who
used tools to restrain him. No matter how many times Buck
tried to lunge, he would just be choked into submission at
the end. When Buck arrived at his destination, there was
snow everywhere, not to mention the masses of Huskies and
wolf dogs. Buck was thrown into a pen with a man who had a
club. This is where Buck would learn one of the two most
important laws that a dog could know in the Klondike. The
law of club is quite simple; if there is a man with a club,
a dog would be better off not to challenge that man. Buck
learned this law after he was beaten half to death by the
man who had the club. No matter what he tried, he just
couldn't win.
After a while, Buck was sold to a man who put him in a
harness connected to many other dogs. Buck was bad at
first, but eventually, he learned the way of trace and
trail. Buck had to learn many things if he was to survive
in this frigid land. He had to learn to sleep under the
snow, and to eat his food as fast as possible so as not to
have it stolen. At about this point in the book, we see
Buck start to go through a metamorphosis of sorts. He
transforms from a house dog to a more primitive, savage
version of his former self. It was as if hundreds of years
of knowledge, learned by his ancestors, were dug up and
brought out. Buck proceeded to lose all the fat in his body
and replace it with muscle. Buck was no longer Judge
Miller's pet. He was a machine of survival and triumph.
Most Southland dogs like him ended up dead because of their
inability to conform. Buck was born to lead the team, but
one dog would do everything possible to try and keep him
down. This dog's name was Spitz. Spitz was a white wolf dog
who was a proven champion in confrontation and was as
crafty as they come. It was clear that he and Buck would
not work well together. When dogs have confrontation in the
Klondike, only one survives. This was because of a law
called Fang. The law of Fang is such that, when two dogs
fight and one is knocked to the ground, that is it. The
rest of the spectators will instantly pounce on the downed
dog and make quick work of it.
All of these unspoken rules had turned Buck into the Best
dog to ever roam the Klondike. Buck did eventually fight
Spitz and send him to his death. After all of the
transformations and cruelty he had been through, you would
think that Buck would never be able to trust another human.
He was being starved to death by a gold seeking group who
had not brought enough food for the dogs. When Buck could
finally not move another step, a man from the group started
to beat Buck. As the blows grew less and less painful, and
he was fading farther and farther, Buck knew he was dying.
While Buck was being beaten, a man named John Thornton came
forth and took Buck from his attacker. The man nursed Buck
back to health, and from that day forward, Buck lived for
that man. Buck loved him with all his being.
After being with this man for quite some time, Buck started
to hear a call from far away. He started paying more and
more attention to this call. He went out for days at a time
searching for its source. This call was the call of the
wild. He had a will to go off and be with other dogs. He
felt the urge to be free from man and catch his own food.
One day, Buck finally left for good. He was accepted by a
pack of wolves who treated him like a wolf himself, and so
the transformation was complete. Buck had changed from a
dog, to a beast of nature. 

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