The Call of the Wild

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The Call Symbol Icon
The call is a wild force that beckons Buck to immerse himself in nature. Though not represented by any single object, it is an energy often associated with songs and wolf howls. "Ancient song" and "song of the pack" are a few examples. The musical quality of "the call" underlines its ability speak to the primal, instinctual, and emotional aspects of Buck's character, suggesting that it is not just an alluring voice, but a powerful summoning.

The Call Quotes in The Call of the Wild

The The Call of the Wild quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Call. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Man-Dog relationship Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of The Call of the Wild published in 1990.
Chapter 7 Quotes

It was the call, the many-noted call, sounding more luringly and compellingly than ever before. And as never before he was ready to obey. John Thornton was dead. The last tie was broken. Man and the claims of man no longer bound him.

Related Characters: Buck, John Thornton
Related Symbols: The Call
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of the novel, London is at his most romantic and his most political. Over the course of the novel, Buck has had many different masters: metaphorical tyrants, oligarchs, democrats, etc.—some Buck has hated, others he’s loved. And yet every leader Buck ever had stole his own labor from him: Buck’s leaders imprisoned him, forcing him to work for little to no reward.

Now that Buck has no human master, he’s free to live in a utopian society of wolves. After years of having his labors stolen from him, he finally controls what he does and where he goes. In the past, Buck hungered for a human master, but now, he can get by without one. Notice that had Buck been sent into the wild immediately after leaving the Judge’s house, he would never have been happy there—he would have wanted to return home right away, and probably would have died. But because of the gradual evolution (or devolution) of Buck’s situation over the course of the novel, Buck is finally prepared to be his own master.

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The Call Symbol Timeline in The Call of the Wild

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Call appears in The Call of the Wild. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: For the Love of Man
The Man-Dog relationship Theme Icon
The Pursuit of Mastery Theme Icon
Domestication to Devolution Theme Icon
...first time, Buck comes to adore and admire Thornton as his "ideal master." Although the call beckons Buck into the forest, he remains devoted to Thornton, returning to his fireside, whenever... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Sounding of the Call
The Man-Dog relationship Theme Icon
The Pursuit of Mastery Theme Icon
Domestication to Devolution Theme Icon
...life timber wolf, who beckons him into the forest. Buck senses the summoning of the call as they cavort in the woods, but Buck remembers John Thornton and eventually returns to... (full context)
The Man-Dog relationship Theme Icon
The Pursuit of Mastery Theme Icon
Domestication to Devolution Theme Icon
Buck mourns over John Thornton's body but that night hears the call. The wild wolf pack circles him. They lunge and strike at him, but he displays... (full context)