The Call of the Wild, Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of the Online Book Club discussion of The Call of the Wild

We didn't get any break from the brutality and violence in this second section, did we? We started right off with Buck and Spitz and their jockeying for power. Again, the scene with the dog fight was so descriptively told that I felt like I could feel and hear every slash and crunch. Were you surprised that Buck ended up besting Spitz? I was a little bit. Buck is really adapting to being a wild dog. It didn't seem to take much time for him to turn the switch from being docile to wild. Do you think it's interesting that London keeps talking about the primordial urges and feelings that are flowing through Buck? What did you think of the fact that Buck easily became the greatest leader the men had ever seen? Does that seem realistic? 

Those wild huskies that attacked the group in Chapter 3 were pretty pathetic. That made me feel sad. They were so hungry. I couldn't believe that they ate everything including some moccasins and pieces of the whip. They must have been desperate. 

Did you catch the part in Chapter 4 where Buck looks dreamily into the fire and is able to imagine the first humans sitting around a fire. He imagines these people as having longer arms and shorter legs, and their bodies were covered in hair. I guess this section serves to show how connected Buck is to the primal instincts of his species? It's interesting that London imagines dogs have this kind of awareness of themselves and their origins. 

This section ends with Dave the dog dying at his post. I hated reading that part, too. He was so brave to keep working, even though he was hurting. I just couldn't handle reading about his pain and bravery. Did you have a hard time reading that section, too? Could you picture Dave's face? 

This week, when I was researching about Jack London, I kept reading about the fact that he worked for a time as an oyster pirate in the San Francisco Bay. Have you ever heard of oyster pirates? Isn't it wild that someone could start off doing that kind of job and then move to being a world-famous author? It seems like quite a wild career change. Check out this blog post from The Art of Manliness to learn more about his adventures on the water. It's pretty fascinating stuff! 

You might assume since this book is such a classic that Jack London got instant success once he started writing. But, he actually received over 600 rejections before The Call of the Wild was published. Check out this article to read about how all of the rejections shaped him, and scroll down on this article to read a snippet from one of his rejection letters. The other author rejections on that page are pretty interesting, too! Later on in his career, to keep up with the volume of writing he was producing, London ended up buying some plots for stories and books from other authors. I don't know if I've ever heard of something that like. He bought a few plots from author, Sinclair Lewis. Check out this exhibit from Utah State University Library to find out more. 

Finally, before you go, check out these pictures of The Call of the Wild from The Saturday Evening Post. Did you know that the book was serialized in that magazine? I thought that was pretty cool. 

Thanks for following along again this week! I hope you'll join us again next week as we finish the book. I can't wait to hear from you in the comments section!