He had contracted scurvy , common in the Arctic winters where fresh produce was unavailable. When his gums began to swell he decided to return to California. There, he hired himself out on a boat to earn return passage to San Francisco. Horses were replaced with dogs as pack animals to transport material over the pass;  particularly strong dogs with thick fur were "much desired, scarce and high in price". London would have seen many dogs, especially prized Husky sled dogs, in Dawson City and in the winter camps situated close to the main sled route.
The depiction of the California ranch at the beginning of the story was based on the Bond family ranch. On his return to California, London was unable to find work and relied on odd jobs such as cutting grass. He submitted a query letter to the San Francisco Bulletin proposing a story about his Alaskan adventure, but the idea was rejected because, as the editor told him, "Interest in Alaska has subsided in an amazing degree.
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Written as a frontier story about the gold rush, The Call of the Wild was meant for the pulp market. The Call of the Wild falls into the genre of animal fiction, in which an animal is anthropomorphized and given human traits. In the story, London attributes human thoughts and insights to Buck, so much so that when the story was published he was accused of being a nature faker for attributing "unnatural" feelings to a dog. London's use of the genre gave it a new vibrancy, according to scholar Richard Lehan.
The story is also an example of American pastoralism —a prevailing theme in American literature—in which the mythic hero returns to nature. As with other characters of American literature, such as Rip van Winkle and Huckleberry Finn , Buck symbolizes a reaction against industrialization and social convention with a return to nature. London presents the motif simply, clearly, and powerfully in the story, a motif later echoed by 20th century American writers William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway most notably in " Big Two-Hearted River ".
Doctorow says of the story that it is "fervently American".
The Call of the Wild and Free
The enduring appeal of the story, according to American literature scholar Donald Pizer , is that it is a combination of allegory , parable , and fable. The story incorporates elements of age-old animal fables, such as Aesop's Fables , in which animals speak truth, and traditional beast fables, in which the beast "substitutes wit for insight". In The Call of the Wild , London intensifies and adds layers of meaning that are lacking in these stories.
As a writer London tended to skimp on form, according to biographer Labor, and neither The Call of the Wild nor White Fang "is a conventional novel". The format of the story is divided into four distinct parts, according to Labor. In the first part, Buck experiences violence and struggles for survival; in the second part, he proves himself a leader of the pack; the third part brings him to his death symbolically and almost literally ; and in the fourth and final part, he undergoes rebirth.
London's story is a tale of survival and a return to primitivism. Pizer writes that: "the strong, the shrewd, and the cunning shall prevail when Pizer also finds evident in the story a Christian theme of love and redemption, as shown by Buck's refusal to revert to violence until after the death of Thornton, who had won Buck's love and loyalty. Doctorow says the theme is based on Darwin 's concept of survival of the fittest. London places Buck in conflict with humans, in conflict with the other dogs, and in conflict with his environment—all of which he must challenge, survive, and conquer.
He learns that in a world where the "club and the fang" are law, where the law of the pack rules and a good-natured dog such as Curly can be torn to pieces by pack members, that survival by whatever means is paramount.
London also explores the idea of "nature vs. Buck, raised as a pet, is by heredity a wolf. The change of environment brings up his innate characteristics and strengths to the point where he fights for survival and becomes leader of the pack. Pizer describes how the story reflects human nature in its prevailing theme of the strength, particularly in the face of harsh circumstances. The veneer of civilization is thin and fragile, writes Doctorow, and London exposes the brutality at the core of humanity and the ease with which humans revert to a state of primitivism.
Doctorow sees the story as a caricature of a bildungsroman — in which a character learns and grows — in that Buck becomes progressively less civilized. John Myers O'Hara , Atavism. The stanza outlines one of the main motifs of The Call of the Wild : that Buck when removed from the "sun-kissed" Santa Clara Valley where he was raised, will revert to his wolf heritage with its innate instincts and characteristics. The themes are conveyed through London's use of symbolism and imagery which, according to Labor, vary in the different phases of the story.
The imagery and symbolism in the first phase, to do with the journey and self-discovery, depict physical violence, with strong images of pain and blood. In the second phase, fatigue becomes a dominant image and death is a dominant symbol, as Buck comes close to being killed.
The third phase is a period of renewal and rebirth and takes place in the spring, before ending with the fourth phase, when Buck fully reverts to nature is placed in a vast and "weird atmosphere", a place of pure emptiness. The setting is allegorical.
The southern lands represent the soft, materialistic world; the north symbolizes a world beyond civilization and is inherently competitive. Buck must defeat Spitz, the dog who symbolically tries to get ahead and take control. When Buck is sold to Charles, Hal, and Mercedes, he finds himself in a camp that is dirty. They treat their dogs badly; they are artificial interlopers in the pristine landscape. Conversely, Buck's next masters, John Thornton, and his two companions are described as "living close to the earth". They keep a clean camp, treat their animals well, and represent man's nobility in nature.
The characters too are symbolic of types.
Jack London: The Call of the Wild
Charles, Hal, and Mercedes symbolize vanity and ignorance, while Thornton and his companions represent loyalty, purity, and love. London varied his prose style to reflect the action. He wrote in an over-affected style in his descriptions of Charles, Hal, and Mercedes' camp as a reflection of their intrusion in the wilderness. Conversely, when describing Buck and his actions, London wrote in a style that was pared down and simple—a style that would influence and be the forebear of Hemingway's style. The story was written as a frontier adventure and in such a way that it worked well as a serial.
As Doctorow points out, it is good episodic writing that embodies the style of magazine adventure writing popular in that period. The Call of the Wild was enormously popular from the moment it was published. Menken wrote of London's story: "No other popular writer of his time did any better writing than you will find in The Call of the Wild. London's book popular, it ought to be rendered so by the complete way in which it will satisfy the love of dog fights apparently inherent in every man.
The making and the achievement of such a hero [Buck] constitute, not a pretty story at all, but a very powerful one. The book secured London a place in the canon of American literature. After the success of The Call of the Wild London wrote to Macmillan in proposing a second book White Fang in which he wanted to describe the opposite of Buck: a dog that transforms from wild to tame: "I'm going to reverse the process Instead of devolution of decivilization I'm going to give the evolution, the civilization of a dog.
The first adaptation of London's story was a silent film made in The Hollywood Reporter said that Graham Ludlow 's adaptation was, " Much more faithful to Jack London's classic than the two Hollywood versions.
A comic adaptation had been made in for Boys Life magazine. Due to cultural sensitivities, the Yeehat Indians are omitted, and John Thorton's killers are now white criminals, who as before, are also killed by Buck.
Harrison Ford will star as the lead role and Terry Notary will portray Buck through motion-capture. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other uses, see Call of the Wild disambiguation. The Call of the Wild. As a boy, he led a criminal life, specialising in the piracy of oysters in San Francisco Bay. As a writer, he blazed briefly, lived hard and dangerously, and died from drink and drugs aged just 40, having written more than 50 books in 20 years. To George Orwell , he was "an adventurer and a man of action as few writers have ever been". A devotee of Kipling's Jungle Book , London found his literary voice writing about a dog that learns to live at the limit of civilisation.
He was inspired to embark on his dog story as a means to explore what he saw as the essence of human nature in response to a wave of calls to American youth urging a new start for the turn-of-the-century generation.
See a Problem?
London's mythical creature became his answer to the complex challenges of modernity. The reader discovers Buck, a domesticated prize dog, as the effete pet of a Californian judge. When he is stolen by his master's gardener to settle some gambling debts, Buck passes through a sequence of owners representing the highs and lows of humanity.