The Call of the Wild

ISBN: 0618003738
ISBN 13: 9780618003730
By: Jack London

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About this book

Buck, a sturdy crossbreed canine (half St. Bernard, half Shepard), is a dog born to luxury and raised in a sheltered Californian home. But then he is kidnapped and sold to be a sled dog in the harsh and frozen Yukon Territory. Passed from master to master, Buck embarks on an extraordinary journey, proving his unbreakable spirit...First published in 1903, "The Call of the Wild" is regarded as Jack London's masterpiece. Based on London's experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, "The Call of the Wild" is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike.

Reader's Thoughts

Owen Curtsinger

Call of the Wild is a great book, but it's one of those books that needs the context of the time in which it was written in order for it to be a great book. Personally, I also consider On the Road and Catcher in the Rye, as well as the film Easy Rider to be in this category of great works that don't carry their magic beyond their own era. So reading Call of the Wild, with it's glossy prose and rough generalizations, might read as a flop to many of us today. But it becomes at least a little more interesting when it's read as London supposedly intended it--as an allegorical tale about both society and his own upbringing and yearnings. I'm not a Jack London scholar, but from various snippets I've read about him, he was apparently a fervent socialist, but inspired more by the act of revolution than of its actual political ideologies. Call of the Wild can thus be read as his call for society to unshackle itself from the political and economic systems that he saw as oppressive, and through Buck's eyes we see the fickleness of all that pass through the Yukon in search of gold. Buck's "call" to leave humanity and run with his ancestors can be seen as London's bid for violent upheaval and a yearning to return to a simpler way of life. Well. Anyways, all that doesn't make it a better book to read, but it may make for a slightly more interesting read. I originally read this when I was very young, though, and without the context, I'm not sure why I loved it so much. Something about dogs and wolves and savagery and adventure in the far North must be appealing or something to this young boy's mind....weird!

Ivani Torales

Me conmovió muchísimo "El llamado de la selva". Es la simple historia de un perro que pasa de la cómoda vida de mascota a la dura vida salvaje de sus ancestros. La historia transcurre en las heladas tierras del Ártico canadiense y Alaska, escenario nuevo en mis lecturas, y que Jack London describe a la perfección. Será porque vivió mucho tiempo en los territorios del Yukon.Buck, el perro que protagoniza la historia, tiene que pasar por durísimas experiencias, como aprender que "un hombre armado con un garrote es la ley". Rápidamente se va adaptando a la vida y al trabajo en tierras heladas, lo que implica volver a su estado primitivo.Toda esta regresión en la vida de Buck -el retorno a la bestia salvaje, el responder a ese "llamado"- es constantemente analizada por el autor desde el punto de vista del perro, por lo que la historia se vuelve una analogía entre la vida animal y la vida humana. Todo lo que Buck experimenta, los sentimientos encontrados al tener que decidir entre responder a sus instintos salvajes y ser libre con los lobos, o corresponder al cariño humano y tener un amo siempre, lo ponen a uno a reflexionar y a hacer el inevitable paralelismo con la vida propia."El llamado de la selva" deja en claro que en este mundo en que vivimos, el que no se da por vencido ni obedece, muere en la lucha a manos del hombre. Pero también nos muestra cómo el protagonista es capaz de confrontar la ley del garrote y del colmillo y abatir al hombre: respondiendo a ese llamado de libertad.

Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors)

Aah.! If Buck was a man,he would have been one of the most eligible bachelors in literature.. The journey of a dog to his destiny,which in this case is a walk back to the past,is what's this story is about. It could be interpreted as the story of a man-his journey towards his destiny. There are many things in this story that might make you think that way. Like -the call of the future(in this case the call of the wild) -the recognition or remembering of the power within(Buck recognizing the wildness within him) -the qualities required of one who is in true pursuit of his destiny(faith in himself,ability to hold on to something,meticulous planning,leadership).The pride and power of Buck is so nicely described that you can see the picture of the formidable and ferocious dog. It was a wonderful story,rich in imagination and original in presentation. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.PS: In the beginning I was thinking that may be this story is like 'Animal farm',seeing the groups of dogs like the group of pigs in that story. When the story progressed,I understood how stupid I was. :)


i am a dog obsessive. i'm nuts. dogs are my moby dick. they're my opera-house in the jungle. if i had a genie in a bottle, i'd wish away all human life (including my own) so dogs could take over the world. wait. that'd be wish number two. number one would be that i had an olympic sized swimming pool filled with dogs and i could do a few laps. then i'd erase humanity. seriously. my dog is the coolest guy i've ever met, my best friend, and love of my life. if it sounds weird: piss off. i don't wanna know you. so, i kinda can't not like this book. and it's weird that i've never read it. well, today i did. picked up this new puffin edition and polished it off in one sitting. good goddamn is this a great book. as an adventure story it's just incredible and then all that regression shit? wow. Buck, the main dog, goes back through his bloodline, down his ancestry... where he watches a primitive man, all hunched over and furry, peer out the mouth of a cave into the cold blackness of the UNKNOWN. there's some seriously badass jungian shit going on here. spooky and ineffable and just fucking gorgeous. masterpiece, baby, masterpiece. and check this passage in which Buck and the other dogs chase a rabbit through a snowy, moonlit forest: "All that stirring of old instincts which at stated periods drives men out from the sounding cities to forest and plains to kill things by chemically propelled leaden pellets, the blood lust, the joy to kill - all this was Buck's, only it was infinitely more intimate. He was ranging at the head of the pack, running the wild thing down, the living meat, to kill with his own teeth and wash his muzzle to the eyes in warm blood. 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. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad on a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that fled swiftly before him through the moonlight. He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time. he was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars and over the face of dead matter that did not move."yes.

عائشة عبد الله

القصة كانت عن كلب، تربى في البيوت وعاش حياة رفاهية حتى تمت سرقته ذات يوم ليعيش حياة قاسية ويتنقل بين أشخاص مختلفين في الطباع والسلوك، مابين عاطف عليه وقاسٍ.العبرة ليست بالمغامرات المجردة، بل بالمعنى العام للكتاب، حيث أنه أثر بي كثيرا؛ فهو يشرح فكرة طالما فكرت بها ولكن لم أستطع صياغتها بالشكل المناسب.الفكرة تقول: أن جميع الناس متحضرون، القانون وتأثيره هو الذي يجعلهم أفضل أم اسوأ.ببساطة الكلب اضطر للسرقة اضطرارا، اضطر إلى أن يصبح شرسا، أن يعود إلى طبيعته البدائية.اقرأوا المقطع التالي:قسوة الحياة، اللاعدل، الإفتقاد للعزة والكرامة، تجعل البشر تفعل الكثير وتستخرج أسوأ مافي طبيعتهم.يتحول الإنسان من شخص ذو مباديء وأخلاق يموت من أجلها إلى إنسان يتسول لقمة يومه ويدعو الله أن يستره ولا توضع العيون عليه.أتعلمون لي صديقة تدعى أغنيس من أمريكا وزارت الكثير من البلدان العربية، قالت لي ذات مرة: لماذا الناس في البلدان العربية أشعر أنهم في حالة حرب دائما، فهم عصبيون قلقون يتهجمون ولا ينتظمون في طابور طعام ولا في الأماكن الحكومية، أشعر أنهم في حالة فوضى عظيمة!ببساطة لا تطلب مني أن أنتظم في طابور وأنا أرى غيري يأتي متأخرا ويُقدم علي!حتى أنتِ يا أغنيس سَتتُقدمين علي في الطابور! وستسهل عليكِ كل الأمور في بلداننا، لا تستطيعين لومنا أبدا ولن تفهمي مانعيش فيه.عودة إلى القصة فهي رمزية وهذا مايجعلها مذهلة، تحتوي على الكثير من المواقف التي نستطيع إسقاطها على الواقع وتشرح تصرفات البشر تحت الضغوط المختلفة. شكرا لفيلم Into the wild الذي دلني على جاك لندن.أنصح بقرائتها قراءة متأنية.


What if you were torn away from your home, your life, your family, and everything that was ever familiar to you, and got thrown into harsh, life threatening situations? In Jack London’s book “Call of the Wild”, it shows that anyone or thing can be taken from its surroundings and thrown into a world where it has to learn to survive. Buck, a domestic dog from Santa Clara Valley is forced into the Yukon because of mans need for money, gold and sled dogs . His life starts to change in a hurry and he has to use everything he has to keep himself alive. Struggling through the harsh Yukon wilderness, Buck’s life is threatened on a daily basis and he’s thrown into many exciting but harshly challenging situations. In this book, there's a lot of charachterization towards Buck, mostly defined by his actions and the choices he makes. The tone of this novel the majority of the time is and air of excitment and intensity. Though the language isnt too modern, since this book was written in 1903, it defnitely works for the genre. I really enjoyed how the main charachter is not human, because if it was i honestly dont think i'd like this book nearly as much. I also thought it was a good choice of London not to give Buck thoughts such as "Well i thought that..." but instead described his way of thinking. One thing i didn't like about this book is that sometimes it takes a while to get to the point, but that didnt happen very often. “Call of the Wild” is definitely a book I would recommend to my friends.


First off I should say that London is a great writer. This is the first book I've read of his. His description of the Alaskan terrain is incredible. I have never been to Alaska but when I read this book I could picture it in my head very clearly. However, that does not take away what I think of the story itself. It wasn't bad. It was interesting, but I could not seem to grasp exactly what London's point was. Was it animal cruelty? Was it the wild should be kept wild? Or is there some hidden social message? There are numerous other themes that I could guess at but I couldn't pinpoint the particular one London was trying to express. It did get me thinking but in more of a jumble of thougts instead of just focused on one.There are parts where the narrator (third person) seems very detached as if he were giving a documentary on Buck. Now Buck is an amazing dog, no doubt about it. He goes against all odds and learns how to survive the wild northland leaving his legend. But nevertheless he is a dog and maybe I'm bias since I usually only read books about humans but I could only see Buck as a dog. Don't get me wrong, I was cheering him on the whole time. I wanted him to have his happily ever after but the ending didn't give me that satisfaction. Maybe it's a happily ever after for a dog but not for me.


** spoiler alert ** I am such an animal hugger, and many people love this book. From my perspective though, it is shakespeare with puppies. No offence to those shakespeare lovers. All of the dogs die and there is no happy ending. Half of the book also consists of words that mean something very simple, but are confusing and long and sound smart. I thought the book was boring, and It made me sad to hear about the dogs treatment. I give this book 2 stars.

Ben Winch

I defy anyone - man, woman or child - not to like The Call of the Wild. It's the most exciting adventure, the most moving love story, the deepest meditation on a creature and its place in nature. If you aren't cheering for Buck the dog by the end of this you're either hard-hearted or a cat-lover.

Greg Zink

I found The Call of the Wild to be a pretty enjoyable quick read, though I didn't really find a lot of deeper significance to it. It is a straightforward tale of a dog who gradually returns to a wilder state after being forced from a content life in the civilized world. Along the way there are adventures and scrapes with various humans and animals which make the story interesting, as is the transformation of the main character.This book is told from the point of view of the dog, Buck. Having animals narrate books (or films) has become pretty commonplace and often indicates a child audience, but I suspect it was a novel idea when this book was written. London may humanize Buck a bit, giving him a little more depth of thought than dogs might be capable of, but then again, who knows? Also, though the content isn't graphic per se, it does portray the violent struggles of the Klondike Gold Rush, so I don't think it's too kidsy to be tolerable for an adult reader.The concept is interesting, exploring the innate primitive base that lurks beneath the surface and how that might be drawn out in the right environment. That main theme is really about it as far as the book's depth goes, though. At heart, this is just an adventure story about a dog. And that's fine. Personally, I like that every now and then, and I really find the Gold Rush pretty interesting, so I enjoyed The Call of the Wild. I just can't really put it up there with great works of literature due to the simple writing style and plot. It's fun, but it's not one of my favorites.


The Call of The Wild by Jack London entails the gripping tale of a dog who slowly learns about the harshness of nature. Slowly developing from an innocent pampered dog to a brutal leader with a new found Darwinian view of survival of the fittest. London's very effective way of writing the point of view of buck really allowed the environment's around him to come to life and allowed the reader to really feel it. Along with the environment, London really brought out the tension in certain situations. A good example of both of these is when Buck and Spitz get into their final showdown "day mankind and the claims of mankind slipped farther from him. Deep in the forest a call was sounding, and as often as he heard this call, mysteriously thrilling and luring, he felt compelled to turn his back upon the fire, and to plunge into the forest. . . . But as often as he gained the soft unbroken earth and the green shade, the love of John Thornton drew him back to the fire again." (London 45). You can feel the tension and importance of this moment with a good idea the environment they're in. He uses a lot of metaphors and similes to describe the situation almost poetically. Claudine previously commented that London aced the point of view and I couldn't agree more. London was spot on making the reader feel like they could see what was going on. I also agree about developing new ideas of what's going on in our world. For anyone who likes good, gripping fictional stories then this is definately the book to read no matter the age. I recommend for everyone to read this at one point and hopefully get new viewpoints also.

Lynne King

“Love, genuine passionate love, was his for the first time. This he had never experienced at Judge Miller’s down in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley. With the Judge’s sons, hunting and tramping, it had been a working partnership; with the Judge’s grandsons, a sort of pompous guardianship; and with the Judge himself, a stately and dignified friendship. But love that was feverish and burning, that was adoration, that was madness, it had taken John Thornton to arouse.” In reading this book, I had my long standing belief confirmed that one cannot know how much one has loved another human being until the latter has been removed for whatever reason and that also applies to non-humans. And we are talking about a dog here:“From his St Bernard father he had inherited size and weight, but it was his shepherd mother who had given shape to that size and weight. His muzzle was the long wolf muzzle, save it was larger than the muzzle of any wolf; and his head, somewhat broader, was the wolf head on a massive scale.”Buck’s cosy lifestyle was to change forever in the fall of 1897, when the lure of gold with the Klondike strike had men rushing to northern Canada to take advantage of what they perceived to be instant wealth. The one necessity to achieve this was having sled dogs and consequently Buck was taken, subjected to very rough treatment, and ended up as one of them.But Buck is no ordinary dog. He soon realizes that he has to fight for survival in his new unwanted lifestyle both with living on the meagre food rations he was given and the aggressivity of his fellow dogs. Nevertheless, this is a great dog and he soon becomes a legend in these northern lands with his prowess of pulling heavy loads and his sheer excellence as a sled dog. He even won his owners $1,600 (rather a lot of money then) when he pulled a load of 1,000 lbs a distance of 100 metres.His primordial instincts, however, gradually come to the fore and I have no doubt that when he met the first wolf and spent a day with him, that he would have reverted to type but then choice unexpectedly had come into the equation with that one word “love” and that came in the form of John Thornton who had saved his life. And as a result with that choice there are two roads that he can follow and so what does Buck decide to do?I don’t know why this book has had such a dramatic effect on me. Perhaps the era had something to do with it, the immense lands of Canada, and Buck’s continual fight for survival. How could one not admire and love this incredible dog? But imperceptibly he is changing too:“The blood longing became stronger than ever before. He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survived.” And finally the following poem states it all with ancestry, instincts, and history:It is taken from "Atavism," a poem by John Myers O’Hara:“Old longings nomadic leap,Chafing at custom’s chain;Apart from its brumal sleepWakes the ferine strain”And Buck was indeed awakened.I can never be more grateful that I came across this children’s classic. Where was I in my youth that I was never told about this spellbinding book? It’s not long but I actually browsed through the book again after finishing it. I didn’t want to let go of those incredibly moving words by Jack London.


Savage, compelling, manipulative, simple, poetic...These adjectives all apply, but they do not save the book from its negative traits. Jack London was a natural storyteller, but he was also a racist and a sexist. I thought it was my imagination at first, but after some research I realize that those accusations are common. I mention this fact because it distracted me from the story. The imagery is rich, the spirituality moving, and by the end, I was completely enthralled by Buck's adventures. It's just a bumpy ride along the way.


Invalid reasons for not reading this:1.) Hundred-year-old-books are written in an inaccessible style.---The Call of the Wild has very accessible style, with beautiful prose and imagery---beautiful prose and imagery that's light and very accessible.2.) I don't like dog stories.---This is a Buck story. Sure, he's a dog, but this isn't a dog story. It's Buck's story. And he's a complex, sympathetic character. He just happens to be a dog.3.) What do I care about the Klondike gold rush?---Don't matter. The story's about Buck, I said. The gold rush is just the outline, background.4.) Dog stories always end with the dog dying. And no, thank you, dammit. I'm still getting over Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows, and I read those almost thirty years ago.---Spoiler alert: the dog doesn't die.I've spent the last day kicking myself for never having read Jack London before. Especially for not having read this until this point in my life. Go, Buck!


Mark McConnellMrs. EbarviaWorld Lit10/21/08Online Book Review The novel I chose to read was The Call of the Wild written by Jack London. Other famous books by Jack London include White Fang, The Sea Wolf, and The Scarlet Plague. The Call of the Wild is about a dog named Buck who has an trouble-free life living on an estate in San Diego. However, Buck gets captured and sold as a sled dog to gold hunters. Buck is new to the sled dog life, and he must learn about it quickly if he wants to survive. In the novel, I liked the way that London used foreshadowing. At the beginning of the book, Buck is beaten with a club by a man in a red sweater. He gets stricken constantly, but he does not give up and he keeps coming back for more. This persistence gives you a hint of what may happen on later in the book. One case where it returns is when Buck battles Spitz for the coveted alpha dog spot on the dog sled team. The moment Buck and Spitz met, they were mortal enemies. After many previous scuffles between the two, Buck and Spitz have a fight to the death. Spitz gets out to an early lead and appears that he will be the victor; however, Buck is able to use his persistent ways to keep battling until he wins. Because Buck showed his restless behavior at the beginning of the story, it could be inferred that he would win the fight. One weakness I found in the book was in the ending. I disliked the ending very much. Buck leaves the place that his dog team and masters were camping at for a brief moment and when he returns, his team and masters had been killed by the Yeehat Indian Tribe. Buck becomes furious at the Yeehats because they had just wrecked one of the only things left in life that he had to live for. Buck goes out of control and charges the Yeehats, killing some of them and scaring the rest away. After this aggressive display of emotion, Buck wanders off into the wild in search of a new life. I did not like this ending because it made me feel like the book had no point. I think London should have changed the ending or added onto the rest of the story because I feel like the story is unfinished and I think that he could have added an exciting twist onto the end while Buck was alone. Besides the ending, The Call of the Wild was an amusing novel. Anybody that likes dogs, the wilderness, or action/suspense would find this book interesting.

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