Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of The Call of the Wild.
Did you enjoy the first two chapters? There weren't too many pages, so, hopefully, you were able to fly through it. What did you think of the fact that the book is told from Buck's perspective? I thought that took a little getting used to. It definitely made the book feel different from other animal books I've read.
At the beginning of this section, Buck lives with a judge in a very nice house. Apparently, the judge in the book was inspired by a real person and his real house! Check out this article that explains how Jack London was inspired by the Bond family, and then look at pictures of the estate here and here.
The thing that stood out to me the most in this first section was the brutality! The dogs were brutal to each other, the men were brutal to the dogs, and the weather was brutal. Didn't the first chapters feel so bleak because of the violence and cold? I hated reading about the way the man with the red sweater beat Buck with a club to subdue him after the long journey. London's descriptions were so vivid--I felt like I could feel every one of the blows. I think the hardest thing for me to read was the attack against Curly. Wasn't that so hard to read? She was just trying to be friendly! I couldn't believe the other dog responded so viciously, and I was sick to my stomach imagining the other dogs circling her and attacking her. What a huge waste.
Buck seems to be adapting pretty quickly to his new life. I can't believe how fast he was able to understand all of the ins and outs of being a sled dog. I thought it was really interesting that the dogs around him nipped at him to teach him how to act. It's incredible that dogs are able to communicate and teach each other. It seems like he likes being a working dog, even though it's such a different life than the one he had in California. I certainly felt for him when he was trying to find a place to sleep in the snow! It was nice of the other dog to show him what to do--I'm not sure how Buck would have survived the night otherwise.
I have a feeling that things are just going to get worse for Buck. The action hasn't really started yet, so I'm assuming he's going to run into more hardship.
Were you curious where Jack London got the inspiration for the book? Apparently, he spent time searching for gold in Alaska, and he met a dog that helped to shape the Buck character. Check out this article if you want to see pictures of the dog and read a little bit about London's time in Alaska. If you'd like to read a longer article about London and Alaska, check out this article from Smithsonian Magazine.
You might think, after reading this first section, that London eventually settled in Alaska, but he actually made his home in California. Check out this link to see his house and then explore the website to learn more about the other parts of the property.
Want to watch sled dogs in action? Make sure to check out the video below.
I hope you enjoyed this section. Make sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought. And, make sure to read the next two chapters for the discussion next week!