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  • Date :
  • 5/31/2004

1-The Call of the Wild
Jack London

The Call of the Wild was the 1903 novella that brought Jack London to the world’s attention although an earlier work,The Son of the Wolf appeared in 1900. Both of these books were set in the Far North, and the latter was unusual for being the story of a dog and not a human. Yet Buck, the crossbred hound in question, has distinctly human characteristics learnt perhaps from his owner back in California. He is part St Bernard and part Scotch shepherd dog and the strengths of these breeds come to his advantage as he his stolen by an unscrupulous gardener and sent to the Yukon. This was the time of the gold rush and strong dogs such as Buck were at a premium. He is worked to the bone and brutalised with a pack of dogs pulling a sled but is rescued from this dire cruelty by John Thornton who shows him care as his master once had. When he returns free to the wild, Buck has learnt skills of self-defence and survival that are respected by other beasts and he becomes in his way a great leader. This is an extremely moving and heartening book that affects both children and adults.


2-White Fang

Jack London
White Fangwas published in 1906, two years afterThe Sea-Wolf and three years after the novel to which it is effectively its sequel (The Call of the Wild). Like that book it is concerned with the adventures of a canine rather than a human hero. InWhite Fang we follow the offspring of an Indian wolf-dog and a wolf. White Fang, this crossbreed, grows up to be the greatest fighter known and - drawn to the ways of the Wild - he responds to vicious behaviour with violence and savagery of his own, following the laws of mimicry enforced by danger and hostility. Yet he is humbled by Grey Beaver and in time and with the intervention of humans he is given the opportunity to respond appropriately to kindness instead of the anger that has trapped him after every conflict.


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