The book I selected to read during this semester is the literary classic The Call of the Wild, a 1903 novel by award-winning author Jack London. I chose to read this story because it is a classic novel and the heroic tone of the novel appealed to me. The novel tells of an initially pampered dog, Buck, and the progression of his tendency to revert to the inner instincts of fierce violence and extreme competition instilled in him. In the process, Buck goes through several different masters before finally landing with the right one. The Call of the Wild is made interesting by the literary devices used in the novel, the simple and robust tone used by London, and the process that the protagonist Buck undergoes in reverting back to his instincts of surviving in nature within him, being “called to the wild.”
Firstly, the story begins at a large estate at which Buck resides, owned by a wealthy judge, Judge Miller, in the Santa-Clara Valley. The gardener at the estate, Manuel, kidnaps Buck and sells him off to become a sled dog. Buck is sold to become a part of Charles and Hal’s team, two inexperienced sled drivers who are out for the sole purpose of making a profit. Instead of caring for their animals, the two owners mistreat the dogs, beating them and malnourishing them. This depicts the unfavorable form of relationship between man and dog, but in turn teaches Buck how to survive in the wilderness by scrapping for food and taking up for himself. This contrasts to Buck’s life at Miller’s estate. This idea of the differences of morality between civilization and the wilderness recurs frequently throughout the story and is one of the principal motifs in the story.
Moreover, as time passes, Buck forms a violent rivalry with the lead dog, Spitz. As tensions grow higher, fights break out between the two, and Buck eventually overtakes Spitz and kills him, becoming the new lead dog. This induces a theme of struggle for mastery that comes back throughout the novel.
Furthermore, one important aspect this novel possesses is its use of literary devices. Throughout the novel, an abundance of themes and symbols are present. For example, a theme of survival of the fittest is presented when Buck first joins the sledding team, as there is a constant power struggle between characters, particularly Buck and Spitz. On the other hand, incidents such as Buck’s...