The Call of the Wild is an adventure story.


The novel has an anonymous narrator who is speaking from a point in time after the events in the novel have taken place.

Point of View

Buck is the protagonist of The Call of the Wild, and it is his point of view that is given in the novel for the most part. The novel does shifts briefly into John Thornton’s point of view during his wager involving Buck’s ability to pull a heavy sled.


The tone of the novel sweeping, romantic, and heroic.


The Call of the Wild is told in the past tense.

Setting (Time & Place)

The novel is set in the late 1890s. Its setting is briefly California, then Alaska and the Klondike region of Canada.

Major Conflict

Buck’s struggle against his masters and his development from a tame dog into a wild beast is the major conflict.

Rising Action

The rising action of The Call of the Wild is Buck’s battle with Spitz; Buck’s struggle with Hal, Charles, and Mercedes; and Buck’s fulfillment of Thornton’s wager.


John Thornton’s saving of Buck's life from Hal's cruelty is the novel's climax.

Falling Action

Buck’s time with Thornton, leading up to Thornton's death, is the falling action.


Key examples of foreshadowing in The Call of the Wild are the urges that Buck feels pulling him into the wild foreshadowing his eventual transformation into a wild creature and the starving dogs who attack the team’s camp in Chapter 3 foreshadowing the hunger that will afflict them during their ill-fated journey with Hal, Charles, and Mercedes.