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Quotes

Quote #13

There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad on a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that fled swiftly before him through the moonlight. He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time. He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars and over the face of dead matter that did not move. (3.34)

Buck experiences joys and emotions in the frozen North that never would have been possible back in the Santa Clara Valley. Despite the hardships he suffers, there is an "ecstasy" involved in connecting with his primitivity.

Quote #14

As they circled about, snarling, ears laid back, keenly watchful for the advantage, the scene came to Buck with a sense of familiarity. He seemed to remember it all,--the white woods, and earth, and moonlight, and the thrill of battle...To Buck it was nothing new or strange, this scene of old time. It was as though it had always been, the wonted way of things. (3.37)

Although the adjustment to his new life was at first difficult, Buck begins to recognize that he belongs to the natural world more than he did to the ranch in California.

Quote #15

Buck stood and looked on, the successful champion, the dominant primordial beast who had made his kill and found it good. (3.42)

In killing, Buck established himself as a truly primitive creature.

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