Symbols in The Call of the Wild

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There are many symbols that Jack London presents to the readers in The Call of the Wild. To begin with, an important symbol Jack London includes in his novel is the man in the red sweaters which symbolizes hatred and savages. Based on the novel, Buck is a dog who lives in the Santa Carla Valley with Judge Miller when he gets stolen from a guy named Manuel and sold as a sled dog in the Arctic.

The man in the red sweater is introduced as a savage man who treats all the dogs terribly by beating them with the club. This symbolizes hatred and savageness because even though Buck and the other dogs barely made mistakes, they would get punished with clubs. When the dogs were getting beat up, “he looked at each brutal performance, the lesson was driven home to Buck: a man with a club was a lawgiver, a master to be obeyed though not necessarily concilated” (London 13).

This symbol was important because this taught Buck that there was no point in trying to fight the man in the red sweaters. Even though Buck didn’t feel guilty about his flaws, ‘he did see beaten dogs that fawned upon the man, and wagged their tails, and licked his hand’ (London 13). Another symbol Jack London paints for the readers is the club. The club is a symbol of possessing something.

For example, after Buck got kidnapped, some of his owners treated him harshly and beat him up with the clubs if he made mistakes. Perrault and Francois beat Buck with the club because he attempted to charge the man with the club. Additionally, Buck gets beaten up by Hal and Charles because the dogs weren’t able to push the sled due to all of Mercedes’ belongings.

Lastly, Curly’s death symbolizes that Buck needs to fight back in order to survive. Curly ‘is one of the dogs taken to Alaska by Francois and Perrault (along with Buck). Curly gets her face ripped open by a large husky she tries to be friends to with” (shmoop.com).

After Buck sees Curly die, he gets traumatized and this teaches him to risk everything in order to survive. Buck then realizes that he isn’t living in his old paradise life so he slowly starts changing in order to fit in with the wild. The man in the red sweater symbolizes savageness, the club symbolizes ownership and Curly’s dead symbolizes risks Buck has to take in order to survive.


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Symbols in The Call of the Wild. (2021, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/symbols-in-the-call-of-the-wild/

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