The Call of the Wild by Jack London.jpg

Answering the Call of the Wild

“He must master or be mastered; while to show mercy was a weakness. mercy did not exist in the primordial life. It was misunderstood for fear, and such misunderstandings made for death. Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, was the law; and this mandate, down out of the depths of Time, he obeyed.”
— Jack London

There is great satisfaction to be found in exploring the peculiarities of life. What decides our destiny? Is it nature or is it nurture? Our we the sum of our experiences or are we the sum of our DNA sequences? Is it some combination in between? Is it just random and unpredictable? Do our choices really matter when our circumstances are handed to us?

The Call of the Wild explores these and other issues through the life of its protagonist, Buck, a large and powerful dog enjoying life with his human family. Buck is stolen and finds himself in the difficult frontier terrain of the Yukon where he has to serve new masters. The difficulties he faces along the way changes him irrevocably.

While White Fang showed us a return to civilization, The Call of the Wild showed us the opposite. Shedding the thin and fragile veneer of civilization and returning to a more pastoral existence. It is not hard to image, in a different life, the roles of White Fang and Buck being reversed and the ending being just as idyllic.