The Call of the Wild
Important Quotations Explained
the four years since his puppyhood he had lived the life of a sated
aristocrat; he had a fine pride in himself, was even a trifle egotistical,
as country gentlemen sometimes become because of their insular situation.
was beaten (he knew that); but he was not broken. He saw, once for
all, that he stood no chance against a man with a club. He had learned
the lesson, and in all his after life he never forgot it. That club
was a revelation. It was his introduction to the reign of primitive
law, and he met the introduction halfway. The facts of life took
on a fiercer aspect and, while he faced that aspect uncowed, he
faced it with all the latent cunning of his nature aroused.
not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became
alive again. The domesticated generations fell from him. In vague
ways he remembered back to the youth of the breed, to the time the
wild dogs ranged in packs through the primeval forest and killed
their meat as they ran it down. . . . Thus, as token of what a puppet
thing life is the ancient song surged through him and he came into
his own again. . . .
pause seemed to fall. Every animal was motionless as though turned
to stone. Only Spitz quivered and bristled as he staggered back
and forth, snarling with horrible menace, as though to frighten
off impending death. Then Buck sprang in and out; but while he was
in, shoulder had at last squarely met shoulder. The dark circle
became a dot on the moon-flooded snow as Spitz disappeared from
view. Buck stood and looked on, the successful champion, the dominant
primordial beast who had made his kill and found it good.
day mankind and the claims of mankind slipped farther from him.
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 to plunge into the forest. .
. . But as often as he gained the soft unbroken earth and the green
shade, the love of John Thornton drew him back to the fire again.
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