The real stories behind famous works of literature are often more interesting than the works themselves. Jack London's 1903 novella, The Call of the Wild, packs plenty of drama into its 80 pages – and there was even more action behind the scenes.
The story's canine protagonist, Buck, takes a journey from a mundane – but socially acceptable – life of domesticity to ascendancy over the limitations of human (and canine) morality in the kill-or-be-killed wild of the Klondike Gold Rush.
In many ways, Buck’s character arc can be compared to the classic hero journey: Buck is kidnaped from his California ranch and taken to the primitive dangers of the Alaskan gold rush where, in order to survive, he unearths internal strength he never knew he had. In doing so, Buck becomes the wild and dangerous animal he was always meant to be.
London wrote the novella from the perspective of a non-human animal with human emotions and perspectives. This personified viewpoint allows London to work through the philosophies and experiences that inspired his deeply personal book. Jack London's inspirations for the text ranged from the literal to the philosophical to the existential. In a peculiar stroke of irony, the hugely successful Call of the Wild would see London plucked from his wild, ragtag origins and reared into a tortured domesticity.
Buck Was Based On A Real Dog Named Jack
Like Buck, London Almost Wasted Away In The Canadian Wilderness
London Was Inspired By A Nonfiction Book He Was Later Accused Of Plagiarizing
London Was A Gold Prospector In The Yukon