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4.6 (788 reviews)

Summary of Call of the Wild 

Short summary

Few novels capture the imagination and pull the heartstrings like Call of the Wild, a true literary classic that has spanned the decades. Far from a simple animal love story, this book takes you on a journey to the heart of the Gold Rush, a time when trying to hit the big time was at the forefront of every man’s mind, and the ability to get there was constantly struck by disaster. Through the eyes of lovable Buck, we are taken on a journey of emotion, transformation, and love, learning many lessons along the way. Written by Jack London, one of the world’s most-loved novelists, Call of the Wild was originally published in 1903, yet London’s troubled childhood led him to publish his first novel a year before that. “Life achieves its summit when it does to the uttermost that which it was equipped to do.” ~ Jack London

Key points


A lovable Saint Bernard learns life lessons in the frozen north

Call of The Wild follows four-and-a-half-year-old Buck, a huge Saint Bernard and half Scottish Shepherd dog. Living a charmed life in Santa Clara Valley, California, with his owner Judge Miller, Buck spends time with Molly and Alice, Judge’s daughters, with whom he enjoys long walks and plenty of fun.

A cruel twist of fate leads Buck away from his home and thrusts him into the heart of the action in the frozen lands of Alaska, at the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush. Forced to work grueling, long hours and often beaten by master after master, Buck is forced to realize that life is far from charming.

Call of The Wild may seem like another animal adventure story on the outside, but on the inside, it is about learning some of life’s harshest and most challenging lessons. Buck sees things he never thought existed and experiences emotions and pain that no dog should ever feel. In the end, he learns life’s greatest lesson — that no matter how much you run, no matter how much you try to deny it, your true self, your true life’s calling will catch up with you in the end.
Always be yourself — just like Buck, you’ll find that sticking to your true identity always gets you through.
There is much to learn from Buck’s journey, and while it is an emotional one indeed, the novel’s deeper themes touch every person’s journey through life. Whether living a charmed life, a problematic existence, or you’re not sure where you stand, the hardships and lessons that Buck endures will open your eyes to things we should all understand — that love, devotion, loyalty, and being kind to others are the cornerstones of life.

There is an excellent reason why Call of the Wild has been so wildly popular over the years and continues to be to this very day. It isn’t about unwavering love of animals; it’s about the deeper themes and the affection you will undoubtedly feel for Buck when you pick up the novel.

Buck is quickly forced to realize that life isn’t charmed for long

Buck is content with his lot. He is a lovable companion to Molly and Alice, and to his master Judge Miller.
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Buck begins to learn harsh lessons as the truth inside starts to awaken


Forced to fight the alpha, Buck becomes the dominant male in the pack


Buck meets a man who wins his devotion and, ultimately, his heart


Disaster strikes and forces Buck’s instincts to be unleashed in fury



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