Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Call of the Wild, by Jack London

“The Call of the Wild” is the story of Buck, a dog who gets stolen and shipped off to Alaska where he’s forced to work as a sled dog.  Over time, Buck transforms himself from a house-pet into a rough, hardworking dog.   Eventually, Buck comes to embrace the tough life of a sled dog, and decides that he’s meant to live wild and free.

For me, one of the most interesting things about “Call of the Wild” is the way that Jack London makes Buck the main character.  It’s nice to read the book and discover what a dog might actually be thinking and feeling, especially during the times that Buck spends working with humans.  I also liked seeing how Buck changed as a dog, as he went from being a house pet to living in the wild. 

The author goes into a lot of detail about the tough living conditions that the gold prospectors and other frontiersmen endured during this period in history.   Moving so far away from civilization was a dangerous situation, and Jack London tells us about the incidents of crime and violence that were part of everyday life.  Sometimes it’s hard to read about animal abuse and cruel behavior, but I think that Mr. London is showing his readers a certain respect by being both gritty and factual.

 “Call of the Wild” is a very short book, but it really gives you a lot to think about when you’re finished.  How do you think you would fare if you were living and working on the cold, wild frontier?

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