Buck, a powerful dog, half St. Bernard and half sheepdog, lives on Judge Miller's estate in California's Santa Clara Valley. He leads a comfortable life there, but it comes to an end when men discover gold in the Klondike region of Canada and...
The Call of the Wild is a short adventure novel by Jack London, published in 1903 and set in Yukon, Canada, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, when strong sled dogs were in high demand. The central character of the novel is a dog named Buck. The story opens at a ranch in Santa Clara Valley, California, when Buck is stolen from his home and sold into service as a sled dog in Alaska. He becomes progressively feral in the harsh environment, where he is forced to fight to survive and dominate other dogs. 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.
John Griffith London (born John Griffith Chaney January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916)
was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. A pioneer in the world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first writers to become a worldwide celebrity and earn a large fortune from writing. He was also an innovator in the genre that would later become known as science fiction.
Chapter 1: Into the Primitive
Chapter 2: The Law of Club and Fang
Chapter 3: The Dominant Primordial Beast
Chapter 4: Who Has Won To Mastership
Chapter 5: The Toil of Trace and Trail
Chapter 6: For the Love of a Man
Chapter 7: The Sounding of the Call
Buck, the lead character, is a much loved and pampered dog living a comfortable life on a ranch under the loving care of his owner, a wealthy judge who makes his pet want for nothing. Then one day, Buck's life takes a dramatic turn when he's sold off by an unscrupulous servant to pay a debt. He travels in a cage for the first time and is sold in Alaska, where dog-sleds are the primary mode of transportation. Buck has to quickly adapt to his new life as a sled dog and learn how to survive in a dog-eat-dog world where the competition is tough and often deadly. The basic comforts he had hitherto taken for granted, namely abundant food and warm shelter, are replaced by the bare necessities for survival which have to be fought for tooth and claw. Buck learns quickly, his physique and natural intelligence standing him in good stead, all the while improving as a sled dog and ultimately deposing the pack leader, his arch enemy: Spitz. His life changes sharply yet again, as he is sold off to Hal and his wife, people who know nothing about sledding or caring for animals till at last he is rescued by a kind and loving man, his last master: John Thornton. At last Buck finds a master who loves him besides caring for or pampering him. However this happiness is not built to last, his master is murdered by the vicious Yee-Hats, a tribe of brutal savages. In the midst of his anguish, Buck has to find his true self, he has to listen to the Call of the Wild and to answer it to go leaping towards his destiny...
The book was published in 1903, the time of the gold rushes and adventures in vast, unexplored tracts of land. A time before the full use of machinery and sophisticated technology, when often, dog sleds and carts were the only means of communication in the wilderness. London's masterpiece, as it is often hailed to be, explores the heart of those yet-primitive societies on the edges of civilization, through the minds of their beasts.
The book is written as a third-person narrative, continually following the central character and from the point of view of the central character. The language is extremely simple and lucid, and combined with a gripping plot, the book is easy to follow and hence suited for younger as well as seasoned readers. London has explored society from a dog's perspective. However the deeper, darker messages of unbound greed, ambition and ultimately the necessity of adaptability to change are easy to spot. There is an innocence in the way the author has attempted to capture the scene from a dog's point of view, this adds to the simple charm of the book.
One of my early classics, I read this for the first time when I was 9 and I loved it because I loved animals as all children of that age do. Now, when I reminisce about it I relate, with an adult mind, to the other themes in the book. I cannot help but wonder at the complexity of the layers, so deep yet so simply structured. A timeless tale for all and sundry.
Book Reviewed by Sayan Mukherjee
This book contains lots of violents parts and recommended that no children younger than 14 should read it.
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