full title · The Call of the Wild
author · Jack London
type of work · Novel
genre · Dog story; adventure story
language · English
time and place written · 1903, California
date of first publication · Serialized in The Saturday Evening Post, June 20–July 18, 1903
publisher · The Saturday Evening Post
narrator · Anonymous, speaking from a point in time after the events in the novel have taken place
tone · Sweeping, romantic, heroic
tense · Past
setting (time) · The late 1890s
setting (place) · California, briefly; then Alaska and the Klondike region of Canada
protagonist · Buck
major conflict · Buck’s struggle against his masters and his development from a tame dog into a wild beast
rising action · Buck’s battle with Spitz; Buck’s struggle with Hal, Charles, and Mercedes; Buck’s fulfillment of Thornton’s wager
climax · John Thornton’s saving of Buck's life from Hal's cruelty
falling action · Buck's time with Thornton, leading up to Thornton's death
themes · The laws of civilization and of wilderness; the membership of the individual in the group; the power of instinct and ancestral memory; the struggle for mastery
motifs · Fights to the death; visions
symbols · Mercedes’ possessions symbolize the different meanings of objects in the civilized and uncivilized worlds; Buck’s traces symbolize, variously, his entrance into the wild, his superiority over the other animals, and, finally, his breaking free from the group. The club that breaks Buck in as a pack dog symbolizes the law of the uncivilized world; Curly’s death also symbolizes the break with civilization. Buck’s killing of the Yeehat Indians symbolizes his final abandonment of life as a tame animal.
foreshadowing · The urges that Buck feels pulling him into the wild foreshadow his eventual transformation into a wild creature; the starving dogs who attack the team’s camp in Chapter III foreshadow the hunger that will afflict them during their ill-fated journey with Hal, Charles, and Mercedes.
Jack London was an oyster pirate (poacher of oysters) not a pirate
5 out of 9 people found this helpful
Curly and Mercedes were not the only females in the book, as it says in the chapter summary, but Dolly the dog is also a minor female character. She dies of rabies.
19 out of 29 people found this helpful
i really liked the book
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