- The Call of the Wild - Wikipedia!
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By the end, he sheds the veneer of civilization, and relies on primordial instinct and learned experience to emerge as a leader in the wild. London spent almost a year in the Yukon, and his observations form much of the material for the book. The story was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in the summer of and was published a month later in book form. As early as , the story was adapted to film, and it has since seen several more cinematic adaptations. The story opens with Buck, a large and powerful St. However, he is stolen by the gardener's assistant, Manuel, and sold to finance his gambling addiction.
He is shipped to Seattle. Put in a crate, he is starved and ill-treated. When released, he attacks his overseer, known only as the "man in the red sweater" but this man teaches the "law of the club", hitting Buck until he is sufficiently cowed but the man shows some kindness after Buck stops. There, they train him as a sled dog. From his teammates, he quickly learns to survive cold winter nights and the pack society.
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A rivalry develops between Buck and the vicious, quarrelsome lead dog, Spitz. Buck eventually beats Spitz in a fight. Spitz is killed by the pack after his defeat by Buck, and Buck eventually becomes the leader of the team. When Francois and Perrault reach Dawson with their dispatches, and are given new orders from the Canadian government, the team is then sold to a "Scottish half-breed" man, who is also working the mail service.
The dogs must carry heavy loads to the mining areas, and the journeys they make are tiresome and long. One of the team, a morose husky named Dave, becomes sick and is eventually shot. Buck's next owners are a trio of stampeders from the United States Hal, Charles, and a woman named Mercedes , who are inexperienced at surviving in the Northern wilderness.
They struggle to control the sled and ignore helpful advice from others, in particular the warnings that the spring melt poses dangers.
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They overfeed the dogs and then starve them when the food runs out. On their journey they meet John Thornton, an experienced outdoorsman, who notices the dogs have been poorly treated and are in a weakened condition. He warns the trio against crossing the river, but they ignore his advice and order Buck to move on. Exhausted, starving, and sensing the danger ahead, Buck refuses and continues to lie unmoving in the snow.
After Buck is beaten by Hal, Thornton recognizes him to be a remarkable dog. Disgusted by the driver's treatment of Buck, Thornton hits Hal with the butt of his axe, cuts Buck free from his traces, and tells the trio he is keeping him, much to Hal's displeasure. After some argument, the trio leaves and tries to cross the river, but as Thornton warned, the ice breaks, and the three fall into the river and drown, along with the sled and neglected dogs.
Buck comes to love and grow devoted to Thornton as he nurses him back to health. He saves Thornton when the man falls into a river. After Thornton takes him on trips to pan for gold , a bonanza king someone who hit it rich in a certain area , named Matthewson, wagers Thornton on the dog's strength and devotion. A king of the Skookum Benches offers a large sum to buy Buck, but Thornton has grown fond of him and declines.
Using his winnings, John Thornton retires his debts, but elects to continue searching for gold. However, Buck decides not to join the wolves and elects to return to Thornton, mirroring John's refusal to sell Buck. However, Buck returns to the campsite to find Hans and Pete murdered, then sees John Thornton has suffered the same fate. Buck finds out the murderers were a group of Yeehat Indians. Buck eventually kills the natives to avenge Thornton, and he then is attacked by an entire pack of wolves.
Buck wins the fight, then finds that the same timber wolf he had socialized with was in the pack he fought. Buck then follows the wolf and its pack into the forest, and answers the call of the wild. Buck comes out of the backwoods once a year on the anniversary of his attack on the Yeehats, at the former campsite where he was last with John Thornton, Hans and Pete, in order to mourn their deaths.
California native Jack London had traveled around the United States as a hobo , returned to California to finish high school he dropped out at age 14 , and spent a year in college at Berkeley , when in he went to the Klondike by way of Alaska during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. Later, he said of the experience: He left California in July and traveled by boat to Dyea, Alaska , where he landed and went inland. They were successful in staking claims to eight gold mines along the Stewart River. London stayed in the Klondike for almost a year, living temporarily in the frontier town of Dawson City , before moving to a nearby winter camp, where he spent the winter in a temporary shelter reading books he had brought: In the spring, as the annual gold stampeders began to stream in, London left.
He had contracted scurvy , common in the Arctic winters where fresh produce was unavailable. When his gums began to swell he decided to return to California. There, he hired himself out on a boat to earn return passage to San Francisco. Horses were replaced with dogs as pack animals to transport material over the pass;  particularly strong dogs with thick fur were "much desired, scarce and high in price". London would have seen many dogs, especially prized Husky sled dogs, in Dawson City and in the winter camps situated close to the main sled route. Bernard - Scotch Collie dog about which London later wrote: The depiction of the California ranch in the beginning of the story was based on the Bond family ranch.
On his return to California, London was unable to find work and relied on odd jobs such as cutting grass. He submitted a query letter to the San Francisco Bulletin proposing a story about his Alaskan adventure, but the idea was rejected because, as the editor told him, "Interest in Alaska has subsided in an amazing degree.
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Expecting to write a short story, London explains: Written as a frontier story about the gold rush, The Call of the Wild was meant for the pulp market. The Call of the Wild falls into the genre of animal fiction, in which an animal is anthropomorphized and given human traits. In the story, London attributes human thoughts and insights to Buck, so much so that when the story was published he was accused of being a nature faker for attributing "unnatural" feelings to a dog.
London's use of the genre gave it a new vibrancy, according to scholar Richard Lehan. The story is also an example of American pastoralism —a prevailing theme in American literature—in which the mythic hero returns to nature.
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As with other characters of American literature, such as Rip van Winkle and Huckleberry Finn , Buck symbolizes a reaction against industrialization and social convention with a return to nature. London presents the motif simply, clearly, and powerfully in the story, a motif later echoed by 20th century American writers William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway most notably in " Big Two-Hearted River ".
The enduring appeal of the story, according to American literature scholar Donald Pizer , is that it is a combination of allegory , parable , and fable. The story incorporates elements of age-old animal fables, such as Aesop's Fables , in which animals speak truth, and traditional beast fables, in which the beast "substitutes wit for insight".
In The Call of the Wild , London intensifies and adds layers of meaning that are lacking in these stories. As a writer London tended to skimp on form, according to biographer Labor, and neither The Call of the Wild nor White Fang "is a conventional novel".
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