Kali's Reviews > The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild by Jack London
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's review
Jan 13, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: english-7701, ya-books
Read in January, 2009

VOYA Evaluation Code: 2Q; 1P
A) Pre-Reading/Anticipatory Thoughts
Before I picked up this book, I knew absolutely nothing about it. Normally, I don't choose books at random like this. I was at the used book store with Woman (my mother) looking for The Giver. As I was browsing through the store's "Required Reading" section, I stumbled upon The Call of the Wild. I remembered seeing this title on our adventure story selection of books. Since this was one of the few sections I had not picked out a book for, I grabbed the book and proceeded to the checkout.
I didn't really look at the cover until I got home. To me, this looked like the typical "guy" book. Although there was a dog on the cover and the title indicates it will be a nature-type book, I assumed I would be following a human throughout the course of the novel.

B) During Reading
So far, this book has been killing me. The book is only 134 pages long, but I just cannot get through it. Every time I pick it up, I only get through about six pages before I have to put it down. Yesterday was the first time I read more than six pages in a row. To the author's credit, I was able to get through more than six pages because of the descriptive nature of his writing. I got really into the details of the surroundings and was able to imagine them in my head perfectly. Just after I finished reading this amazing description, London got back to the plot of the story and I once again lost interest. I will say that this book is unlike any book I've ever read. I really don't like it, but the imagery is amazing. I'm not really interested to see what happens to Buck at the end of the story; however, I am interested in exploring the rest of London's writing.

C) After Reading
I found it incredibly hard to connect and get into this book. For me, the story was weak and uninteresting. I never cared about Buck, where he was going, or how he eventually got there. I was surprised to find beautiful writing among this unfortunate story. Like I've previously noted, London's imagery provided me a profound sense of relief as I continued to endure page after page. In addition, I stumbled across the thread of "power" within the text. Buck's experiences with power got me thinking like a teacher; because of my observance of Buck's relationship with power, I was able to consider the possibility of actually using this text in the classroom.

D) Ideas for Future Teaching
I'm not exactly sure how students would respond to this text. A large part of me thinks that most girls would not enjoy reading the story of Buck; however, I could be wrong about this. Although this text is recommended for high school, it seems like it would be a text 8th graders might read. The thread of power in this text resonates with my professional teaching experience in the sense that it reminds me of history and literature's relationship with history. Power is something that is always and will always be present. The different experiences Buck had with power and the factors that played into those experiences with power struck me.
In my future classrooms, I think I could carry the story of Buck's affairs with power into the classroom. It would be interesting to compare this text to current events and even our new presidential change. I would love to ask students to journal about power. Specifically, I would ask them to relate Buck's experiences with power to teenage experiences with power. I would eventually ask students to move away from a focus on themselves and look out into the world they are living in. I might have been unconsciously influenced by today's presidential inauguration; however, I am infatuated with the way this text pairs with current events. Previously, I could not imagine using this text in any way, shape, or form. I have been awakened to see a new light and a new facet of connecting this "classic" piece of literature to the everyday workings of my own classroom.
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message 1: by Darren (new)

Darren Interesting response...most everyone else who read this book found it a more positive experience with its plot. Certainly we all have our own preferences with what we find appealing in stories, and I like that you were able to consider some of the value the text might have despite your dislike of it aesthetically. I agree that London, perhaps through Buck's point-of-view, calls into question some of the power arrangements we take for granted.

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