Call of the Wild by Jack London

Old longings nomadic leap, chafing at custom’s chain; Again from its brumal sleep, wakens the ferine strain. – Jack London

Buck was a dog and it was afraid of being killed to be made into furry coats. Buck lived in a house in Santa Clara. It was called Judge Miller’s place. He was born here and now he was already 4 years old. He was largely alone. Buck led an adventurous life. This included hunting and swimming. Mollie and Alice were Judge’s daughters. His father, Elmo, was a St Bernard. There was the hunting instinct in him. He was handed over to a stranger by the gardener, Manuel. He was vilely treated by that stranger. The next moment, he found himself in the baggage car. The men were thinking of selling him. Buck was kept in a small crate and he felt oppressed. He passed through many forms of transport before ending up in an express car. There was a lack of food and water as well. Soon, he was suffering from fever. Naturally he was angry inside. All to men looked like tormentors. A man opened the crate and held a club in his hand. All of a sudden, he was hit by the club. The club was sufficient to keep Buck subdued. The men were treating him like dirt. Buck was injured and couldn’t attempt to attack the man anymore. Buck was warned not to misbehave. It was important to obey the man with the club, whether you liked it or not. The dogs seemed to be exchanged for cash. A man known as Perrault was interested in Buck. The new owners were Perrault and Francois. They were clam and respectful. His counterpart was known as Curly. They were on a boat to Canada. Buck came upon snow for the first time.

Buck was beaten; but he was not broken. He saw, once for all, that he stood no chance against a man with a club. He had learned the lesson, and in all his after-life he never forgot it. – Jack London

The lesson was driven home to Buck: a man with a club was a lawgiver, a master to be obeyed, though not necessarily conciliated. – Jack London

The law of club and fang. Dyea beach was a place where owners were savages. Curly was attacked by another dog. She was slaughtered after a mass of dogs swarmed her. Buck realized that once you were down, you were out. Spitz was laughing about the whole incident. Buck was forced to haul Francois on a sled in the forest. He gained stamina after training for a while. Perrault was collecting different kind of dogs, apparently. Sol-tek was a dog which didn’t like being approached from the blind side. Late in the night, Buck ventured out into the cold forest. He went back to check and realized that none of the other dogs were there. While in the open, he feared of wild things. He started to recall his bearings. Perrault was hiring dogs to do dispatch for the Canadian Government. Now, there were a total of 9 dogs. Some of the dogs felt very happy to be doing dispatch. Buck was placed between Dave and Sol-leks. The other dogs disciplined him if he wasn’t doing his job well. It was hard work. It was extremely tiring and the dogs had to cover long distances everyday. The sheer nature of the work made him hungry. Buck learnt to eat quickly before other dog took his food portions. He also stole a piece of bacon from Perrault when he wasn’t looking. In the Northland, it was more about the law of club and fang. Now, he learnt to eat anything and his muscles were hard as iron. To put it simply, he was fit and adaptable now. An old dog could learn new tricks. He started acting like his ancestors and that was to howl late into the night.

It marked his adaptability, his capacity to adjust himself to changing conditions, the lack of which would have meant swift and terrible death. It marked, further, the decay or going to pieces of his moral nature, a vain thing and a handicap in the ruthless struggle for existence. – Jack London

The dominant primordial beast was in him. The conditions of life made him stronger. Buck shunned all aggressive action and was calm. Spitz liked to intimidate him. Spitz occupied his nest and Buck was fuming. He lunged at Spitz. Both were furious and filled with rage. Suddenly, the camp was invaded by 4 or 5 huskies. They wanted food desperately. The invaders were ferocious, but were extremely skinny. ‘But the hunger-madness made them terrifying, irresistible’. Buck was also slashed by them wildly. The 9 team-dogs escaped but everyone was wounded. The huskies chewed the canvas and sled lashings. It took them 6 days to travel 30 miles in the deep snow/ It was an extremely strenuous journey. The animals slowly scaled up a cliff. Buck’s feet hurt badly. Dolly, one of the dogs, went mad. She started attacking and chasing Buck for no reason. The dog driver plunged the axe into her head. Spitz took the chance and bit Buck. Spitz wanted to feel like the master of the team. Out of all the rest, Buck managed to endure. He was indeed a masterful dog, to say the least. Spitz and Buck were fighting for the leadership title. Francois tried to stop Spitz and Buck from fighting. The owner lashed at them. All day long, the dogs had to work and transport goods. The dogs were ahead of schedule on their journey. Buck left the group into performing misdemeanors and the group was divided now. Some dogs were no longer afraid of Spitz anymore. Buck once led the chase for a wild rabbit. Buck and Spitz were at it again and they were battling. Spitz was a trained fighter. Buck kept trying to bite his throat but Spitz slashed him and got away. Spitz was untouched so far. Buck could fight with instinct and also with intelligence. Finally, he got Spitz. Spitz got killed.

There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. – Jack London

The owners wanted Sol-lek to be the leader but Buck refused to back down. The owners threw clubs at him. Now, the owners gave up and let him be the owner. He set the laws and the others were willing to follow. Sol-lek and Dave didn’t mind the change in leadership. The animals worked harder now. It was a record run. Buck remembered his past, the death of Curly and the great fight with Spitz. All of the animals and owners were at a camp now. The dogs were saddled with heavy letters. The dogs were getting tired. Dave was hurt and he cried out with pain. The owners could not locate what was wrong. Sol-tek took his place to pull the sledge and Dave was upset that he was not doing his part. He wanted back in. The next day, Dave was far too weak. Dave eventually passed away.

But Buck was in open revolt. He wanted, not to escape a clubbing, but to have the leadership. It was his by right. He had earned it, and he would not be content with less. – Jack London

The Toil of Trace and Trail. Buck had lost weight. Some of the dogs were limping in ache. Their feet were sore. A few days later, two men from the States bought them. They were ‘Hal’ and ‘Charles’. The sledge they loaded was much too heavy for the dogs to move it. Hal knew that to get the most of them, they had to be whipped. Mercedes was protecting the dogs. She hugged Buck and wanted him to pull hard. Buck didn’t like her. The sledge was not loaded well and this caused the owner to get flung off. The dogs fled onto the streets. Passerbys picked up the goods and gave the owners advice. Hal and Charles bought a few more dogs to supplement. However, Buck didn’t like them one bit. Some of the new dogs couldn’t take any form of hardship. In total, there were 14 dogs under their care. Buck observed that the owners were lax and ill-disciplined. The dogs were under-fed and could not go far due to poor planning. The owners were incompetent and did not know how to work the dogs. Hal killed Dub as he was badly injured. The mongrels were killed too. Mercedes and the two guys often lost their temper on the trip. She was pretty but very heavy and spoilt. ‘It was heartbreaking, only Buck’s heart was unbreakable.’ The dogs were not insensible to the bruises of the club. Billee fell one day and could not rise. Hal killed him using an axe. Koona was the next one to go. There were only 5 dogs left. Buck refused to get up after a few lashings. He made his mind not to get up. Buck was nearly knocked unconscious now. He felt like he was no longer in control of his body. John Thornton now attacked Hal. ‘If you strike that dog again, I’ll kill you.’ John Thornton. Thornton freed Buck’s traces with a knife. The bottom dropped out of the trail after the ice cracked. Buck licked John Thornton.

For the Love of a Man. After lazing around in the nature, Buck regained his strength. John had other dogs, but they harbored no jealousy towards him. ‘Love, genuine passionate love, was his for the first time.’ John Thornton saved his life. John often paid compliments to his dogs. Nig and Skeet were the other dogs under his care. Buck liked to observe John from a distance. At night, Buck had nightmares that he would be sold again. Now, Buck was so well treated that he felt that stealing was wrong. Often, he heard calls in the forest and was keen to explore. However, he was too drawn to John that he didn’t dare do so. Buck was happy to be embarking on trips with John. There was once when John was attacked by a rude man in the bar. Buck came to John’s rescue. Now, Buck’s fierce reputation was known throughout Alaska. Buck once also saved John from drowning in the river with strong rapids. Some men doubted Buck’s capabilities and wanted to test him. The men placed a bet and wanted Buck to drag a thousand pounds. It was a contest to see which dog was the strongest. Now Buck was in perfect condition. Now the sledge moved steadily along. All the men were speechless. All the men were cheering now. John won the bet.

The Sounding of the Call. The owner was now $1600 richer from the contest. John could now fund his journey to look for a lost mine. His other partners were Pete and Hans. John was not afraid of the wild at all. Buck loved wandering around and exploring strange places. Finally, they found gold. Buck followed a hairy man to conduct some exploration. He liked following mysterious signs. One day, he heard the sound of a creature. He approached a clearing when he saw a long, lean, timber wolf. The wolf was howling. The wolf fled when it detected Buck. Buck chased after it. Buck was finding it difficult to corner it as it was very elusive. Finally, the wolf detected that he meant no harm and they starting playing with each other. Buck followed the wolf to another place. The wolf was signaling him to follow but Buck knew he had to return next time. For the next 2 days, Buck stayed with John. After that, he could not resist and followed the call of the wild again. Buck was a St. Bernard. He had many of a wolf’s characteristics. Buck cut a bull out from its herd. Finally, the bull was rescued by the others in the herd. Buck kept monitoring the wounded bull and never allowed it to rest in peace. By the end of the fourth day of tracking, Buck killed the moose. One day, he found Nig dead, an arrow deep into its body. Hans was also killed by arrows. The Yeehats had invaded their lodge. Buck ripped the throat of the chief and also of a second man. The Indians ended up shooting one another with arrows as he was much too fast for them. Now, the Yeehats fled in fear. Pete was dead too. He guessed John was dead too. Buck managed to kill men easily. Now he heard the call again. John was no more. The wolf pack approached Buck. Buck broke one of the wolf’s neck when he tried to attack. All the wolves were wounded when they tried to attack him. The wolves eventually gave up and Buck recognized his wild brother, the wolf. Now, an old wolf sized Buck up and howled long into the night. Buck howled as well. Now, Buck was part of them. From then onwards, the Yeehats never dared to explore that valley.

He had killed man, the noblest game of all, and he had killed in the face of the law of club and fang. He sniffed the bodies curiously. They had died so easily. It was harder to kill a husky dog than them. – Jack London



8 thoughts on “Call of the Wild by Jack London

  1. Amazing blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring
    writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so
    many choices out there that I’m completely confused .. Any
    tips? Thanks!

    • hey! thanks for the compliment. haha. I guess it would be better to start off with a free platform first. Once you are really into blogging, you may pay to upgrade your URL name into a ‘.com’ etc 🙂

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