EXCERPTS, CUTS, QUOTES, AND CITATIONS FROM LITERARY WORK

THE CALL OF THE WILD

Jack London

novel

This is a story of survival in the harsh wilderness in Alaska, where there is no life for the weak.
Unlike people who prefer civilization instead of the wilderness, the wilderness revives the "primordial instincts" in dogs. THE CALL OF THE WILD returns them to the state in which their distant ancestors were long ago, before they were domesticated by humans and taken to live with them. This CALL OF THE WILD frees them from humans and returns them to nature, where they live only by its laws and become masters of their own destinies.



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EXCERPT / QUOTES

"Buck’s first day . . . was like a nightmare. Every hour was filled with shock and suprirse. He had been suddenly jerked from the heart of civilization and flung into the heart of things primordial."

"Here was neither peace, nor rest, nor a moment’s safety. All was confusion and action, and every moment life and limb were in peril."

"At the first step upon the cold surface, Buck's feet sank into a white mushy something very like mud. He sprang back with a snort. More of this white stuff was falling through the air. He shook himself, but more of it fell upon him. He sniffed it curiously, then licked some up on his tongue. It bit like fire, and the next instant was gone. This puzzled him. He tried it again, with the same result. The onlookers laughed uproariously, and he felt ashamed, he knew not why, for it was his first snow."

"He was beaten (he knew that); but he was not broken."

"Not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again."

"That was the way. No fair play. Once down, that was the end of you."

"He must master or be mastered; while to show mercy was a weakness. Mercy did not exist in the primordial life. It was misunderstood for fear, and such misunderstandings made for death. Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, was the law; and this mandate, down out of the depths of Time, he obeyed."

"He did not steal for the joy of it, but because of the clamor of his stomach."

"There is a patience of the wild--dogged, tireless, persistent as life itself--that holds motionless for endless hours the spider in its web, the snake in its coils, the panther in its ambuscade; this patience belongs peculiarly to life when it hunts its living food."

"It marked his adaptability, his capacity to adjust himself to changing conditions, the lack of which would have meant swift and terrible death. It marked, further, the decay or going to pieces of his moral nature, a vain thing and a handicap in the ruthless struggle for existence."

"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 the beaten earth around it, and to plunge into the forest, and on and on, he knew not where or why; nor did he wonder where or why, the call sounding imperiously, deep in the forest. But as often as he gained the soft unbroken earth and the green shade, the love for John Thornton drew him back to the fire again."

"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."

"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."

"Love, genuine passionate love, was his for the first time."

"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."

"But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called—called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come."

"And when, on the still cold nights, he pointed his nose at a star and howled long and wolflike, it was his ancestors, dead and dust, pointing nose at star and howling down through the centuries and through him."

"But he is not always alone. When the long winter nights come on and the wolves follow their meat into the lower valleys, he may be seen running at the head of the pack through the pale moonlight or glimmering borealis, leaping gigantic above his fellows,



Jack London




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