The Call of the Wild
by Jack London
Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis
Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.
Plot Type : Quest
The Normal Universe
Buck is happy in his home in California.
Such a lovely, normal universe, California. Nothing has happened…yet.
The Horn Blows
In this case, a mandatory horn, as Buck is forcefully removed from his home.
The horn is like the Call of the wild. Sort of. Disguised as a guy in a red sweater.
Buck doesn’t immediately take to his new life, or the role that the wilderness demands of him.
Hmm, Buck thinks, I’m not sure this is worth giving up feather beds and filet mignon.
Buck learns from watching the other dogs.
These dogs aren’t exactly sitting Buck down with a pencil and notebook, but it’s sort of an indirect advice situation.
Entering the New World
Buck starts to take on the role the wilderness demands of him.
Buck’s new world is internal as well as external. He enters this new subconscious world in his dreams.
Feeling out the New World
Buck steps up and takes over as leader of the team.
Hey, Buck thinks, I’m getting to like this. Especially now that I’m the boss.
Exploring the Darkness
Buck starts having dreams about his ancestors; he adapts to his new surroundings and becomes hardened.
It’s hard work being leader of a sled, trekking through frozen terrain without food or rest.
The team (sans Buck) falls through the ice.
Disaster and a half. Buck barely escapes.
Inner Strength Prevails
Buck is revitalized by the love of Thornton.
Inner strength? Not so much. But some external hand-licking sure seems to do the job.
Mastering the Discipline
Buck establishes his dominance in all things physical, including hunting and pulling large loads of weight.
Buck is officially the top dog, at least among formerly domesticated dogs that were stolen from their homes of comfort in California.
Fighting the Final Battle
Buck attacks the Yeehat tribe that killed Thornton.
This one really does fit – the final battle with the Yeehat tribe is also Buck’s final battle with his own conflicted inner self. Should he stay among men, or leave for the wild?
The Pearl of Wisdom Calms
Buck joins the wild, giving in to his primal instincts.
We’re not sure Buck gains any real pearl (what with being a dog and all).