Overview and Setting


A gripping, fast-paced tale of adventure, The Call of the Wild focuses on Buck, a pampered sheepdog stolen from a California ranch and transported to the arctic. Buck’s struggle to survive on the arctic trail demonstrates the precarious nature of life in the wild. Although The Call of the Wild is an engaging animal story, the reader cannot help but draw parallels between Buck’s experience and that of humans. The book suggests that environment shapes character, and emphasizes that primitive instincts-often hidden beneath a veneer of civilization-are never lost to the individual. Providing a fascinating glimpse of a way of life that has almost vanished, The Call of the Wild suggests that creatures survive best when they adapt to the natural world, rather than trying to impose change on their environment.


The story begins in 1897, at the start of the Klondike gold rush. The discovery of gold in the Klondike-a region in northwestern Canada’s Yukon Territory-prompted thousands of gold-seekers to head for the far north, all of them desperately in need of dogs to pull sleds across the harsh arctic trails. Buck, a large dog who has enjoyed a leisurely life on a California ranch, is stolen and shipped to the Yukon. Buck learns to survive in this cruel environment; he begins to discover the primitive instincts of his ancestors, and in time he responds to the call of the wild.

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