Where so many books about dogs end up with the dog dead and its master merely changed by the experience, The Call of the Wild reverses the trend and thus reveals a much deeper impact of human nature. Buck’s journey is reminiscent of The Heart of Darkness when the dog is stolen from his civilized and domesticated life to be bought, sold, and traded farther and farther north into the Canadian wilderness. He is treated differently by the different men holding his leash. His reaction to his masters’ treatment of him works on many levels to show the emotional and psychological results of kind versus harsh treatment. Buck lives a hard and painful life until the man Thornton finds him. It is in Thornton that Buck finds the balance between lapdog and wolf, and in this way, the book is not only a story of the cold and wild north, but also a lesson in kindness and true friendship.
London’s prose are simple but detailed, and he does a masterful job of conveying the emotional changes Buck goes through as he falls farther away from his civilized and domesticated life. Unlike other stories where the decent to the natural and the untamed is a regretful and sorry event, you find yourself at peace at the end of the novel where Buck ends up. Buck is fully changed by his experiences, and we feel no loss at his final transformation. His journey from domestic to wild, the insights into the harsh life of Yukon living during the gold rush, and the natural descriptions make this book a must read for any age level.
This book is classic. Told from the viewpoint of the dog, it seems that we are the ones that can be the animals. This book is not for the faint of heart. It is violent as nature sometimes is. A must read for everyone.
The plot concerns a previously domesticated and even somewhat pampered dog named Buck, whose primordial instincts return after a series of events finds him serving as a sled dog in the treacherous, frigid Yukon during the days of the 19th century Klondike Gold Rushes.