In the harsh Klondike, man and sled dog develop intense bonds, coming to depend on each other in symbiotic ways in order to survive. For instance, sled dogs, like Buck provide transportation and labor to couriers like François and Perrault, who in turn care for their animals with food and protection. London portrays such bonds by demonstrating how Buck's owners shape his character and educate him in the ways of mastery.
At Judge Miller's insular…(read full theme analysis)
The dog eat dog world of the Klondike awakens within Buck a "dominant primordial beast” that drives him to "master, or be mastered.” Buck chooses "to master” by overthrowing Spitz and asserting his rightful place as lead dog on François and Perrault's team. Domination is Buck's aim and he achieves it. Mastery, however, is not just a relentless struggle for power and dominance. London describes Buck's pursuit "to master” as a learning process. Buck "masters,”…(read full theme analysis)
While Buck is deeply influenced by his human masters, The Call of the Wild is ultimately about Buck's transformation from a domesticated dog to a wild wolf. London's Darwinian influences are at work in Buck's "development,” or rather his gradual "retrogression” into a primeval beast. Like an evolving organism, Buck sheds characteristics ill-suited to his environment and takes advantage of traits that help him thrive. He tunes in to his latent, feral instincts, becoming less…(read full theme analysis)