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Showing posts from May 27, 2013

The Call of the Wild Revisited

I listened to Jack London's, The Call of the Wild today, on a long drive in the car. I was enraptured. What a fine piece of writing.  

The novel is about a dog named Buck who passes hands through various human owners. He is taken from a sunny, prosperous, and comfortable life in California and through a series of adventures, eventually is in a remote region of the Alaskan wilderness.

Buck's dog life takes him from a sedate, civilized life as a pet to a life as a wild animal.

The adventures and characters are entirely plausible for anyone who has had a taste of the Northern wilderness. To make his fine tale palatable, London needs to offer an anthropomorphic take on Buck. This comes at a cost of eliminating an essential element of wilderness experience, attested to by countless generations of explorers and adventures: the indifference of nature to the existence of the individual.

London addresses this in White Fang and here in a moving account of Buck's capture and destruct…