Owen Curtsinger's Reviews > The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild by Jack London
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Aug 01, 2012

it was ok

Call of the Wild is a great book, but it's one of those books that needs the context of the time in which it was written in order for it to be a great book. Personally, I also consider On the Road and Catcher in the Rye, as well as the film Easy Rider to be in this category of great works that don't carry their magic beyond their own era. So reading Call of the Wild, with it's glossy prose and rough generalizations, might read as a flop to many of us today. But it becomes at least a little more interesting when it's read as London supposedly intended it--as an allegorical tale about both society and his own upbringing and yearnings. I'm not a Jack London scholar, but from various snippets I've read about him, he was apparently a fervent socialist, but inspired more by the act of revolution than of its actual political ideologies. Call of the Wild can thus be read as his call for society to unshackle itself from the political and economic systems that he saw as oppressive, and through Buck's eyes we see the fickleness of all that pass through the Yukon in search of gold. Buck's "call" to leave humanity and run with his ancestors can be seen as London's bid for violent upheaval and a yearning to return to a simpler way of life. Well. Anyways, all that doesn't make it a better book to read, but it may make for a slightly more interesting read. I originally read this when I was very young, though, and without the context, I'm not sure why I loved it so much. Something about dogs and wolves and savagery and adventure in the far North must be appealing or something to this young boy's mind....weird!
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