Struggle for Existence: A Critical Study of Jack London’s the Call of the Wild

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M. Mayavel, Dr. M. Madhavan


This paper attempts to analyse the notion of struggle of existence in Jack London’sThe Call of the Wildauthentically. The main character, Buck, is anicon of individualism. When Buck is first put into a crate and severely beaten by the man in the red sweater, he does not exhibit his primal beastliness because he has been introduced as a civilised dog. Buck is a powerful, individualistic figure who shows the effectiveness of love- and solidarity-based comradeship in the face of natural pressures. Cooperation must be balanced with individualism. In order to be trained as a sled dog, Buck is abducted from his home in the Santa Clara Valley of California and sent to Alaska. Buck is introduced to the “survival of the fittest” world through a variety of encounters. As an individual, Buck fights hard to survive, often in harsh environments and while serving multiple masters. Until he realises who he truly is, he skilfully navigates all obstacles. In the novel, Buck’s immoral traits are banned, including his sneaky fish theft from Pike, cunning expulsion of Spitz during the struggle for leadership, and wilful defiance of Hal and Charles’ orders. His survival instinct prompts him to abandon civilisation and live peacefully as a wolf only at the story’s end.

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