Jack London

THE CALL OF THE WILD


Summary THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London

This is one of the most famous stories about a man and a dog.
When gold was found in Alaska, which was located in the cold north, many poor people and those who dreamed of wealth rushed to this inaccessible and cold region. In order to conquer the wilderness, people used dogs as the only animals that could be useful and of great help to them. They used them for pulling sleds, by harnessing them to dog sleds that transported equipment, food, mail, and other necessary things. The writer portrayed the dogs as human beings: they knew how to think, be cunning and patient, they had imagination, memories, emotions, good and bad qualities... They knew how to devise clever strategies and repay their masters for their good and bad actions, and the people who were their experienced handlers could understand their language.
This is also a story of survival in the harsh wilderness 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.


FULL BOOK SUMMARY

  • At the beginning, there was a dog named Buck who was four years old, living on a huge estate of a judge, located in the warm south of the country. His life was beautiful and noble, playing with children and going for walks with adults.

  • One day, Manuel, who was a gardener's assistant at the judge's, in order to pay off his gambling debts, deceitfully took Buck and sold him to an unknown man. That man sold Buck, who was tied up, to another man, and then they continued to resell him by train and boat, beating and tormenting him along the way until he reached Alaska.

  • In Alaska, dogs were in high demand because they were needed by gold miners who had just discovered gold there. Alaska was located in the north, it was a wilderness covered in snow, which Buck encountered for the first time along with extreme cold. In that wilderness, everything was harsh and cruel: nature, people, and dogs. Especially the dogs were hostile, attacking and biting him, stealing his food, and they would even kill him if he didn't defend himself.

  • He was harnessed and forced to pull mail sleds with other dogs. It was a difficult effort, and Buck felt humiliated but was compelled to obey his mushers. He quickly learned how to properly pull the sleds with other dogs, and his strong and robust build allowed him to pull better than any other dog in the team.

  • As time passed, Buck managed to adapt and toughen up. He was no longer the noble dog from the south. The instincts of his ancestors awakened within him, he felt the call of nature, and the wilderness attracted him. He became capable of surviving in it, but he still had much to learn.

  • Pulling mail sleds for hundreds of kilometers through the snow, Buck overcame obstacles, fell through the ice into a lake, fought with wild Eskimo dogs... An important moment for him was when he fought to the death and defeated the lead dog of the team, with whom he had been in constant conflict. After that, Buck became the leader of the pack.

  • When they reached their destination and delivered the mail, Buck and the other dogs were given two new mushers, with whom they returned several more times to deliver new mail. In total, they covered about two and a half thousand kilometers, after which they were completely exhausted and tired. Since they were no longer fit for the job of delivering mail, they were sold for a small amount of money to new owners.

  • Their new owners were Hal, his sister Mercedes, and her husband Charles, who were preparing for a long journey through the wilderness and knew nothing about dog sleds. They first overloaded the sleds, then carried too little food for the exhausted dogs whom they mercilessly drove, until the dogs began to collapse one by one, after which Hal killed them because they could no longer pull the sleds. In the end, only a few remaining dogs reached the cabin of a man named John Thornton. At that point, Buck, tired and defiant, refused to go any further.

  • Trying to force him to continue pulling the sleds, Hal relentlessly beat Buck, who would surely have been killed if John Thornton hadn't intervened and saved him after hitting Hal. So the three cruel people had to continue without Buck. But they didn't get far because as they crossed the river, their sleds with the three of them and the remaining dogs fell through the ice into the water, where they drowned.

  • John Thornton nursed Buck and helped him recover from exhaustion and injuries he suffered while being forced to pull sleds. When he recovered, Buck became the strong dog he once was. He loved John more than his previous owner, the judge, because John truly loved dogs with pure love and knew how to handle them. That's why Buck followed him everywhere and protected him. He once saved John from a bully who was beating him, and another time he saved his life by helping to pull him out of a drowning river. He even brought him a lot of money when John won a bet claiming that Buck alone could pull the weight of a sled that would normally require 10 dogs, which Buck bravely and successfully proved. Because of this, stories about Buck's fame and incredible abilities began to spread among the gold diggers.

  • With the money he earned from the bet, John and his two friends bought equipment and more dogs and set off to the distant, barren lands where it was said that there was a great gold deposit, but it was very dangerous to go there. In Buck, the pure and strong CALL OF THE WILD awakened. Every day he would go alone into the deep forest that called him. There, he would transform into a beast, a great and fearsome hunter who hunted not only for food but also to satisfy his desires for proving his great strength and dominance over them. But as much as he enjoyed his freedom, his fights, and victories, he would always later return to his master John because he was loyal and devoted to him.

  • One day, when he returned from hunting to John's cabin, he found Indians who had just killed John and his friends. He immediately attacked their chief and killed him, then scattered the other Indians. However, the death of his master John severed the last bond between him and humans. Now he was free to surrender to the CALL OF THE WILD.

  • Buck encountered a pack of wolves that had come to those parts. He fought their leader and defeated him, and they accepted him into their pack. Together with them, he hunted and had offspring, attacked Indians, and raided their camps. Among the Indians, a legend spread about the terrifying wolf-dog whom they feared greatly, and because of whom they never ventured into the valley where John's cabin was located. Only Buck would visit that valley and sometimes howl mournfully for his dead master before returning to the forest again.





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