The Call of the Wild – Jack London
The Call of the Wild – The Call of the Wild is a short adventure novel by Jack London published in 1903 and set in Yukon, Canada during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, when strong sled dogs were in high demand. The central character of the novel is a dog named Buck. The story opens at a ranch in Santa Clara Valley, California, when Buck is stolen from his home and sold into service as a sled dog in Alaska. He becomes progressively feral in the harsh environment, where he is forced to fight to survive and dominate other dogs. By the end, he sheds the veneer of civilization, and relies on primordial instinct and learned experience to emerge as a leader in the wild.
London spent almost a year in the Yukon, and his observations form much of the material for the book. The story was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in the summer of 1903 and was published a month later in book form. The book’s great popularity and success made a reputation for London. As early as 1923, the story was adapted to film, and it has since seen several more cinematic adaptations.
This classic by London is notable for at least two reasons: It is the first widely-read novel that views life through the eyes and mind of a dog. Second, it is written by someone who was keenly aware of the region and situation. London was one of the few novelists of his time to actually experience the adventures of which he wrote. Whether in the frozen North or the South Seas, he lived the life, drama and all. Though limited by the near-Victorian restrictions of the time, he still was able to convey the human (and animal) emotions with remarkable clarity. His nascent socialism is a clear subtext in this and all his works; surely a hindrance in the first part of the twentieth century.. He overcomes it brilliantly.
John Griffith “Jack” London (born John Griffith Chaney; January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. A pioneer in the world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first writers to become a worldwide celebrity and earn a large fortune from writing. He was also an innovator in the genre that would later become known as science fiction.
Some of his most famous works include The Call of the Wild and White Fang, both set in the Klondike Gold Rush, as well as the short stories “To Build a Fire”, “An Odyssey of the North”, and “Love of Life”. He also wrote about the South Pacific in stories such as “The Pearls of Parlay” and “The Heathen”, and of the San Francisco Bay area in The Sea Wolf.
London was part of the radical literary group “The Crowd” in San Francisco and a passionate advocate of unionization, socialism, and the rights of workers. He wrote several powerful works dealing with these topics, such as his dystopian novel The Iron Heel, his non-fiction exposé The People of the Abyss, and The War of the Classes.
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