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Call of the Wild, The

buck novel thornton dog

a novel by Jack London, published in 1903. The novel deals with the values of reciprocal love and fair play, and the qualities of hardiness and courage in adversity. Buck, the offspring of a St Bernard and a Scotch shepherd dog, lives on a comfortable home on a California estate. He is stolen and shipped to the Yukon, where he is trained as a sledgedog and put into brutal service before winning the leadership of the dog-team. He learns the law of the fang and how to survive in the Arctic wilds, rejecting the old Californian morality of respect for others. An atavistic streak of savagery stirs in Buck, as he responds to the conditions in which he lives and works. Buck is rescued from near death and cared for by John Thornton, and a strong bond builds up between them. Buck gives his entire allegiance to Thornton, saving his life on a number of occasions. When Thornton is murdered by Indians, Buck goes on the rampage in the camp, killing several of them in revenge. He then flees into the wild, where he abandons human civilization and becomes the leader of a wolf pack. The novel finishes on a note of triumph and a celebration of the American values of freedom and innocence, where Buck ‘sings a song of a younger world’.

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