From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild

  

by Jack London

Mercedes

Character Analysis

Mercedes is the only woman in this text (not counting female dogs), and unfortunately represents a bunch of gender stereotypes that existed around the turn of the 20th Century. She's weak, impractical, and overly sentimental and emotional.

Just check out this passage:

And so it went, the inexorable elimination of the superfluous. Mercedes cried when her clothes-bags were dumped on the ground and article after article was thrown out. She cried in general, and she cried in particular over each discarded thing. She clasped hands about knees, rocking back and forth broken-heartedly. She averred she would not go an inch, not for a dozen Charleses. She appealed to everybody and to everything, finally wiping her eyes and proceeding to cast out even articles of apparel that were imperative necessaries. And in her zeal, when she had finished with her own, she attacked the belongings of her men and went through them like a tornado. (5.34)

Yikes.

We'll leave it up to you, though—is her tendency towards crying and her decision to chuck out important gear a product of Jack London's misogyny, or just a condemnation of civilization in general?

Mercedes' Timeline
Advertisement