Jack London’s The Call of the Wild brought my total reading this year up to ten books. I’m officially 20% of the way through my goal! And today being March 26th, we’re about 23% of the way through the year. Seeing as I’m keeping up on my studies and managing to stay on top of current events and my personal hobbies at the same time, I’d say I’m doing really well.
The Call of the Wild was a really great book. I decided to read it because of Art of Manliness’s list of books that every man should read.
It’s definitely one of the books that every man should take the time to read, preferably when he’s young.
London tells the tale of Buck, a domesticated dog who is stolen and forced to work in the unbroken wilderness of the Yukon, Canada, and Alaska. Passed through the hands of traders and gruff sorts of men and their fierce dogs, Buck learns the law of club and fang: if you’ll get beaten or bitten for doing something, better not get caught doing it. A lot of the lessons that Buck learns need not apply solely to the life of dogs. We can all learn from the examples of the various owners Buck has, and the effects of their behavior on Buck’s health and well-being. Buck passes through hard things and deals with some very hard people. He becomes invincibly strong and develops a deep and abiding love for one certain owner, but never seems to be able to combat the wild impulses that draw him away from civilization towards the forest and the wild. That call seems to come from much older, long-gone generations of wild dogs, and begins to break through the civilization and domestication that has dominated Buck’s existence for so long.
Other than being a great story about nature and man’s coexistence, The Call of the Wild deals with issues of identity. What do we do when something bigger and greater than us calls for us to come? What do we do when our nature beckons at us against our nurturing?
On a more comical note, I realized how funny it would be to insert “accountant” every time the story reads “dog”.
“…men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal…These men wanted accountants, and the accountants they wanted were heavy accountants, with strong muscles by which to toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost.”