An Analysis of Literary Elements in The Call of the Wild, a Novel by Jack London

Categories: The Call Of The Wild

What techniques does London employ to portray Buck’s character development in The Call of the Wild? The main character in the novel, Buck, is a 140-pound Scotch shepherd and Saint Bernard mix. He spent his life as a “coddled Californian pooch,” mastered by Judge Miller, just like his father before him, before becoming a wild and vicious animal, through his new environment.

During the Canadian Gold Rush, Buck is stolen by a servant called Manuel and sold to Francois and Perrault, Post Officers, who are in need of strong sledge dogs for the ice.

Buck quickly learns that he is no match for Man after getting “broken” and learns to obey orders. He is shocked by his environment and realizes that there is no such thing as fair play here after the death of Curly, another dog. Buck is quickly shaped by his surroundings and is taught by the other experienced dog. Thanks to rigorous work and exercise, Buck transforms into a vicious and deadly animal, remembering his ancient roots.

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Throughout the novel, we see Buck’s natural instincts kicking in. He fights constantly with Spitz, the lead dog, and finally, Buck and Spitz fight to the death. Spitz gets defeated, and Buck becomes the new lead dog. This proves that Buck has let his more recent, domesticated animal instincts behind, and is going to the more primitive side.

Eventually, Buck’s current masters, Francois and Perrault, sell him and the other dogs to 3 Southerners, Hal, Charles, and Mercedes. Under their inexperience, constant bickering and laziness, Buck is reduced to “a bag of bones, in which flickers of life sparked now and then.

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” This comes to a stop when the trio reaches the camp of John Thornton, who takes pity on Buck. Under his love, Buck again flourished and is at the apex of his life. Buck’s sheer physical change is shown here when he wins his owner 1600 dollars in gold dust after being able to break out and pull a thousand-pound sleigh. John Thornton pays off his debts, and journeys into the Canadian Forest in search of a lost mine with Buck, two other men and a few dogs.

Out here, Buck experiences the call of the wild, which he had got before in short snippets, often and in great bounds. Once he finds himself with nothing to do, he is increasingly being led into the woods on his own by the call. Buck roams far and wide, meeting wild wolves and killing grizzly bears and moose, but always comes back due to his love for Thornton. Tragically, one day, he comes back to Thornton’s camp after a long outing to find that Indians have killed him. Buck mauls the Indians, kills several and scatters the rest. This severs his last tie to the world of Man, and he heads off into the wild, where he becomes alpha of wolf pack. He becomes a legend, the Ghost Dog, who still terrorizes the Yeehats, but every year returns to where Thornton died and mourns. He has at last answered the Call of the Wild.

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An Analysis of Literary Elements in The Call of the Wild, a Novel by Jack London. (2022, Feb 07). Retrieved from

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