The Call of the Wild by Jack London is a great book, it has to be one of my favorite realistic adventure books of all time. I recommend it to anyone who loves animals and adventure.
The story starts with Buck, a half saint Bernard half shepherd dog, who is well accustomed to people, and the dog of an important judge in the Santa Clara Valley. Buck, trusting all humans and believing them to be of a good heart, follows Manuel, a gardener at the judges home who does too much gambling, into town. Since Manuel is in debt he gives Buck up to a man who puts Buck on a train, all the while Buck doesn’t understand why they are doing this. Buck starves for 3 days and nights only to come to a place where the man in the “red sweater” teaches him the “law of club and fang.” Eventually Buck gets sold as a sled dog and shipped to the north to do some heavy traveling transporting goods and mail all across Alaska to men, greed-hungry for gold. Buck goes through many situations and becomes hardened to the outdoors life, but does he know enough to keep himself alive? What kinds of dogs and people are out there in the wilderness? Does Buck have a strong enough will to survive? Jack London shows how a well civilized trusting dog becomes a savage beast in a short amount of time. Jack London uses many long sentences, mostly fragments and many short sentences, to convey this story to the reader. Buck’s transformation from dog to the menacing appearance of a wolf shows how when thrust into a situation Buck’s Saint Bernard instincts prevail, helping him to adjust to the harsh environment and endure when things get rough. London uses many long yet descriptive fragmented sentences to help put together the imagery he wants us to form in our heads. London uses a 3rd person perspective to aid to the imagery and descriptive detail; this is very helpful in deciphering the story.
This book shows that when forced into harsh conditions and rough environments, if we allow our instincts to take over, we can survive.
Throughout the book the conditions for Buck continue to get harder and harder only strengthening Buck, who allows his instincts to take over and as a result, thrives in these conditions. The only instance Buck ever gives in to the harsh conditions is after being driven for thousands of miles with no food and no hope in order to get to their destination. However, when he does give up, a man with true compassion takes Buck from his harsh owner and nurtures Buck back to life.
This book while short, is very eventful and is an emotional rollercoaster. I liked the book so much that I wish there were a number two or that it had been longer. London really knows how to write some very interesting books.