Call of the Wild Review

Lisa Wan

“The Call of the Wild” by Jack London

Embrace change, for it is the key to survival.


A voice beckons to many, but only a few dare to heed its call; the search is a treacherous one. In the woods, the whistling of the wind, the churning of the rivers, the glistening of fur, the rustling of leaves, and the cries of the animals can be heard, touched, and felt. It is arriving, for change, in all of its glory, is inexorable. 


“The Call of the Wild” displays the significance of change: The life of everything and everyone is dictated by it, and like a tyrant, anyone and anything that does not succumb to it will perish. Since our surroundings are constantly being altered by natural forces, we, as creatures living in such an environment, must continue to adapt.


Buck starts out as a pampered and arrogant pet dog at Judge Miller’s place, but is sold to traders and ends up as a lowly sled dog. The novel details his trail life and the many hardships he has to endure, from being whipped and beaten to being starved and overworked. Every second of his new life is fraught with an unprecedented amount of danger, whether it is fighting for leadership among the team of sled dogs or fighting over food and drink.  Throughout the course of the book, Buck is continuously forced to adapt to his circumstances. 


Initially, one of Buck’s team members thought that Buck was a timid dog and frequently bullied him, but, over the course of the book, that dog finds himself sadly mistaken as Buck “maneuvered for the final rush [… and] the dark circle became a dot on the moon-flooded snow as [he] disappeared from view.”This moment marks the completion of Buck’s transformation into a “dominant primordial beast.” By the end of the story, Buck has completely given into the instincts of his ancestors and lives life as a wolf, though he still takes the time to mourn over his lost companions.


Similarly, because COVID-19, we have all had to adjust our lifestyles to avoid spreading and contracting the virus. New protocols have been introduced to the public, new laws have been issued by the government, and new regulations have been put in place by local authorities. By the end of the pandemic, a new society will have arisen from the old one, one so profoundly different from the society that existed before this global crisis. 


I highly recommend this novel to those who enjoy adventures centered around the survival of the protagonist and seek to journey along to see how far the protagonist will go in order to survive. It is only through change that progress can be achieved.