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Call of the Wild is a story about a dog forcibly taken from his home and forced to adapt to his situation during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush in the Alaska Yukon region. While the story goes on to follow the main protagonist, a dog named Buck, it demonstrates thoroughly the historical properties of the time. As it slowly goes from civilization, to madness in the wild we follow along this dog’s journey across the modern world at the time and gaze into history from an inhuman standpoint. This knowledge will be used to understand the historical significance of the gold rush.
Once Buck arrives in the territory of U.S Alaska he gets underway with the task of policing and mail carrying with his new masters Perrault and François. From town to town they complete their tiring task all the while gazing upon every type of person imaginable. They don’t know why they’re there all they know is that man found a yellow rock in the wild and now all lots of life are flooding to the area to try their hand at getting some. The grueling task they had was job of many dogs at the time as many were worked to death to complete jobs for men and women and get done what they were told to do or face death.
Once Buck and his team were bought by a new group of people, Hal, Charles, and Mercedes, they faced a new task of traveling long distances without rest and food. All the while dealing with their new master’s ignorance and inexperience. This was commonplace at the time for people to come from all over, most never having experienced snow and cold in their lives, suddenly thrusting themselves into their new life or death situations. Many would die along the way of diseases, camping raids from other gold hunters, Indian attacks, and grizzly murders at saloons and bars over bets and money.
Because of Buck’s irresponsible new owners and their ignorant ways of running the team, he gets picked up by a man named John Thornton who takes him in. Shortly after, his previous masters come to their icy fates at the hands of the river and are washed away. Thornton represents a typical, muscular, Alaska hardened man. He is well experienced and knows the ways of nature like a select few at the time did. The way he goes about in his plans and his business doings show that people like him during the gold rush had a clear advantage over others and were more than likely more successful in their survival.
When they halted, the dogs dropped down as though they had all been struck dead. Mercedes dried her eyes and looked at John Thornton. Charles sat down on a log to rest. He sat down very slowly and painstakingly what with all his great stiffness. Hal did the talking. John Thornton was whittling the last touches on an axe-handle he had made from a stick of birch… the Call of the Wild…
The book clearly demonstrates the hardships of the time and really puts you into multiple different perspectives. Showing without hesitation the bluntness of the Alaskan wilderness as many come and go from Buck’s life. Either dying or passing on to a different life style. While on their journey they will be giving vivid examples of every kind of person they meet and sometimes how they fit or don’t fit this hard life.
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