Answer the following questions with reference to Jack London’s, ‘The Call of the Wild’.
(i) Why is Buck regarded as the protagonist (the hero) of Jack London’s book ‘The Call of the Wild’?
(ii) After Spitz’s death Buck was made leader of the dog team. In what ways did Buck prove to be better than Spitz in his role as leader of the team?
(iii) Explore the themes of love and loyalty as revealed in the relationship between Buck and Thornton in Jack London’s novel, ‘The Call of the Wild’.
(i) • The evolution of Buck’s character is the focus of the story.
• The novel traces his life from the time he is a happy four-year-old basking in the California sun to a tough competitor
• Buck emerges as a faithful, loyal companion, and finally to the leader of a wolf pack in the wil.
• Buck is noble, admirable, and shows remarkable loyalty (to Francois and Perrault) and love (for Thornton) - protagonist-like qualities.
(ii) • Good judgement/ quick thinking and quick acting
• Laying down the law
• Enforcing the law – making the other dogs follow
• The team recovered old-time solidarity
(iii) • Buck’s love and loyalty to Thornton is the result of extremities of circumstance – they save each other’s lives on more than one occasion.
• Thornton saves Buck’s life on different occasions (from death by club/starvation/will to die)
• Buck in turn saves Thornton’s life when he gets in a bar fight.
• On another occasion Thornton almost drowns but is again saved by Buck.
• Thornton wins a huge sum of money by betting Buck can pull an enormous load.
• Thornton goes in search of gold and a lost cabin with his partners and is killed by natives.
• Buck seems unable to respond to the call of the wild until after Thornton’s death.
• This suggests that perhaps his love and loyalty for the man are stronger than his more primeval urges.