The Call of the Wild
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A cheap shot at a bestseller or a deeper book with connections relevant to the human race? In The Call of the Wild, the protagonist is a dog named Buck, who's thrown into the wilderness and forced to survive on his own. But this dog has human-esque emotions that help the reader empathize with him.
|American Literature||All American Literature|
|Author||London - Jack London|
|Early 20th-Century Literature||Early 20th-Century American Literature|
Fate and Free Will
Man and the Natural World
Respect and Reputation
Wisdom and Knowledge
state. Buck, the hero of our story, isn't some branch-eating
survivalist. . .
. . .and he's not a guy trying to make it in Hollywood.
Yeah, this Buck isn't even a guy at all. . .he's a dog
So, what gives? Why is this book about a canine instead of a human?
Maybe London wanted to come up with an allegory about the true nature of man.
And Buck and the gang were just stand-ins. The fact that they had human emotions. . .
. . .might have been London's way of saying we're not all that different from animals.
But maybe he used dogs for another reason. If London wanted to grab the readers' attention.
. . .and get their sympathy. . .
. . .putting puppies in peril was a sure-fire way to do it.
C'mon, a defenseless dog stolen by ruthless humans. . .
. . .and thrown into the frozen wilderness?
Sounds like a bestseller to us.
But maybe we're missing the obvious. Perhaps London used animals because it was
a story about life in the wilderness.
Maybe it was simply about putting a dog back in his natural habitat. . .
. . .to see what he would do. So, why was Buck a dog?
Was he an allegory for something else?
A sympathy grabber...."oooh look... puppies..."
Or was it to be taken at face value as a realistic tale?
Shmoop amongst yourselves.