Can one person fit into three very different categories? In Call of the Wild, by Jack
London, London proves he is an emphatic naturalist. However, his knowledge of the
areas in which the book is set and of the harsh realities of life show that he also appears
to be a regionalist and naturalist.
London's love for nature is obvious in this novel. The settings are miraculously
vivid with descriptions that could not have just been made in his head. He describes
many different areas over a course of twenty-five hundred miles. However, not only is
regionalism London's area of expertise. The way in which he gives life to Buck and all
the other dogs is astonishing. The reader comes to accept the idea that dogs have deep,
meaningful thoughts to go along with their actions. These ideas are directly tied to actual
things that dogs would actually do. As in the case of Spitz's long lasting and fatal battle
with Buck. The description of the final fight is mesmerizing, London goes inside of both
dogs' heads and gives reasons for all the actions that real dogs would do.
Realism is also a major part of the novel. It is in no way padded with goodness to
leave the reader with a warm sensation in his heart. At times, the way in which beatings
of the dogs are described makes the reader want to close the book. Throughout the book,
Buck is severely abused by humans. Upon being taken from his home to learn to be a
sled dog, Buck is beaten senseless for no reason other that to learn to respect and fear the
man in the red shirt. From this experience Buck learns not to respect, but simply to obey
a man with a club. Buck also travels for twenty-five hundred miles, mostly as the lead
sled dog. In this coarse he becomes so tired that he can barely go on. When this trip is
over, he is sold to three bungling morons for very little due to his poor condition. When
traveling with them, he barely survives as most of the other dogs die from over exertion
and malnutrition. All of these examples show London's sense of the cruel realities of
This book moved me significantly more than anything else I've ever read. At
times I wanted to jump in and kill the men who were beating and mistreating the dogs.
The descriptions were horrifying at times. It gave me a real sense of what really went on
back in those times. When Buck was so near death, I felt as if I would have sacrificed
anything in order to help him. There was a turning point in the novel in which Buck was
so worn out that he could not get up from his lying position. Then a member of the triad
that owned came over and tried to get him up with a club. He beat him until he was one
more hit away from death. Thankfully; a man, John came to Buck's aid and said, "If you
hit that dog one more time, I'll kill you." The two men then began to fight and Buck was
left behind to be cared for and brought back to health by John Thornton.
As Buck's love for John grew it felt great for me. This was the first time that
Buck had ever loved anyone. When Buck was able to pull a twelve-hundred pound sled
that was frozen in the snow to win over a thousand dollars in bets, I became very joyous
for Buck and for John. The way in which London describes all of the games that the two
played and the respect each had for the other overshadowed all the other gloomier parts
of the book to really leave me with a good feeling.
However, this feeling did not last very long, as John and the rest of the team.
Though finally this feeling came back, more or less. Buck was able to answer the "call of
the wild" and join a pack of wolves to live the way he was meant to for the rest of his
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