Jack London was an American writer who wrote many novels about the Klondike Gold Rush. In the late 19th century, gold was discovered in the cold regions of Klondike. Jack London also went there to take his chances in finding the gold. During his time in Klondike, he learned a lot of things. And when he returned, he wrote a lot of books about his experiences there.
A story of a dog
One of the most read works by Jack London was the ‘Call of the Wild.’ Although it is a story of a dog, it talks about the experiences of a dog in the Yukon area during the Klondike Gold Rush. The dog’s name is Buck, who is a very well-fed and physically strong dog living in California. But someone steals the dog from his owner and sells him away. In Yukon, Buck is forced to work as a slave dog and pull heavy sleds over snow in very cold weather.
Buck couldn’t adjust to his new life in the start and hate it. He has to suffer bitter cold, gets very little to eat and his new owner often beats him up when he can’t work. But gradually he learns to adapt to his new life. He realizes that he now lives in a world where he must kill or be killed. So he slowly becomes a wild dog who is strong and can easily do hard jobs while fighting off any other dog that may attack him.
There is another dog that has a bad fight with Buck. After a long struggle between the two dogs, Buck finally wins and takes over the position of Spitz as the leader of the pack. After some time, the whole pack is bought by new owners. These owners are inexperienced and don’t know how to survive in the harsh and cold weather of the North.
A new man John Thornton
The new owners try to force the whole lot of slave dogs to pull a heavy sled to the other side of the river. But Buck, who is an experienced dog by now, knows that the river is melting and they may drown. Buck rejects this order of the owner. The owners beat him but he just lies down in the snow. Tired from Buck’s behavior, his owner leaves him there while a new man John Thornton see him lying there. He takes Buck with him and trains him for competitions which Buck wins and impresses many people. A lot of people approaches John Thornton to buy Buck but he refuses because he has become quite attached to the dog.
Later, Buck suffers more tragedies. The wild appeals to him because it allows him to take revenge, fight others and do what he wants. The civilization appeals to him because it is embodied in his friendly owner Thornton. In the end of the book, Buck has to make a difficult choice.
‘Call of the Wild’ is about the struggle between the wild nature of man and civilization. The dog is a metaphor of that which I like the most in the book. Wild nature is complete freedom while civilization offers order in chaos. And like Buck, all of us have to make a choice between the two. This book is a depiction of everything around us.