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Essay/Term paper: Call of the wild

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Call of the Wild


Where did man come from? Scientists thought they had answered this
simple yet complex question through Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
According to him, living organisms evolved due to constant changing. Organisms
which gained an edge would reign, while those without would die. Jack London's
books during the late 1800's animated this theory through the use of wild
animals in a struggle for survival. In fact, many prove that to survive a
species "must" have an edge. In London's book the Call of the Wild, the harsh
depiction of the Klondike wilderness proves that to survive life must adapt.
London uses Buck as his first character to justify his theory as he
conforms well to the hostile North. While at Judge Miller's, pampered Buck
never worries about his next meal or shelter; yet while in the frozen Klondike
he has death at his heels. Until his body adapts to the strenuous toil of the
reins, Buck needs more food than the other dogs. He must steal food from his
masters in order to conform. If Buck continues his stealthy work he will
survive. A second example occurs when Thorton owns Buck, and Spitz, the lead
dog, constantly watches the team in a dominant manner. Buck, if insubordinate,
runs the risk of death. He lays low, learning Spitz's every tactic. Buck
adapts to circumstances until finally he strikes against Spitz in a fight for
the dominant position. By killing Spitz, he gains a supreme air, and in turn
an adaptation against the law of the fang. A third example surfaces during
Buck's leadership. The fledgling dog, to Francios and Perrault, cannot work up
to par for the lead. So Buck conducts himself as a master sled dog, reaching
Francios and Perrault's goals, conforming to the team. The group plows through
snow reaching at least forty miles a day. The dogs spend at most two weeks in
the wild Klondike. In a way Buck heightens the safety of each person and dog.
He adapts to the environment and new position. Within the Call of the Wild,
Buck must have a part to justify London's theory.
In the novel London uses Mercedes, Hal, and Charles, a group of very
inexperienced and even less equipped city goers, to depict the probable doom of
those who do not adapt. While in Skagway the three have no idea what the
Klondike holds. The well dressed well fed team wants nothing but riches and
fame. In their effort for time they purchase the now exhausted dog team,
which Buck leads, to take them to Dawson. Even during the beginnings of their
journey they show their inevitable doom. Mercedes, the most hardheaded of the
bunch parks load after load on the sled. Onlookers laugh at the sight, telling
the group that the sled will tip. In their arrogance the warning goes without
notice, soon to find the now moving sled strewn across the street. The next
incident proves their stubbornness to adapt to the environment. After many
weeks of toil Charles, Hal, and Mercedes reach White river, where they find
Thorton, a mail courier with frost bite. The team drops dead in the traces.
Hal's philosophy pertains to the use of the whip. Beating after beating occurs
but the team does not get up. Buck, the lead dog, gets the brunt of the attack
until Thorton steps in. He fights Hal and wins Buck. So the beaten Hal moves
on, not heeding Thorton's warning of thin ice. Their doom arrives in a tumult
of ice and water. All of the team dies in the cold murky lake. These three
characters show a second side of adaptation that is very true.
Thorton and Buck reach a final adaptation in their quest for fortune,
which creates the man and beast which rise above all. John Thorton asked
little of man or nature. During the search for the hidden treasure mine
Thorton travels in no hurry. He ventures Indian fashion, hunting food with his
hands, using his cunning to overcome. If he fails, Thorton keeps on traveling
knowing that eventually he will find food. Thorton has adapted, and now he has
the power to fend off the wilderness. Buck also reaches his own acme which
creates the super being. After Thorton's death a pack of wolves attacks Buck.
He holds his ground crippling dog after dog. By using primitive instincts, his
killer instincts, Buck does not fall. Rather he destroys the others until they
are to tired to fight. The victory makes him the leader of the pack. He has
become the super being that reigns over all. As to London's theory, Buck and
Thorton's adaptation proves it without a doubt.
Due to the harsh and wild depiction of the Klondike wilderness in Call
of the Wild, London's theory proves true. Through the use of wild creatures and
people, London creates a visualization of how adaptation makes someone strong
and well fit for their environment. He also teaches that if a great enough
adaptation occurs, that the organism will rise above all obstacles. In
conclusion, if the average person adapts to their position in life and strives
to reach their own personal best they too, like Buck, will become the leader of
the pack.



 

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