The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, that is forcibly taken to the Klondike gold fields where he eventually becomes the leader of a wolf pack. White Fang is the story of a wolf-dog who is befriended by a kind man who becomes his master.
The setting is around the end of the 19th century. The Call of the Wild tells about Buck, a normal house-bred dog who was kidnapped and brought to Alaska to be a sled dog. There he has to face a brutal and merciless world with its “law of club and fang”. The description on how he was decivilized, until finally he answers "The Call of the Wild", to become a leader of a wolf pack is so touching yet horrible.
On the contrary, White Fang tells a story about a wolf, born in the wild, but finally has to grow among the Indians and educated to be a sled dog. Because his owner had a debt due his liquor addiction, he was sold to a wicked white man who made him become a fighting wolf and had to face life and death at the arena. Similar with Buck, White Fang must learn how to surrender himself completely to a new situation. It gave me the creep when I read the author's desription about the submission process of a wolf to the hands of men. Domestification is not as simple as you think….
Truly a splendid reading. You’ll learn (again) that the world can be so cruel and only the strong will prevail.
Call of the wild:
Buck is a hefty mogrel, dognapped out of a Californian comfy life to help power the late 1800s goldrush as a sled dog. Despite being a domesticated dog for 10000 years or so Jack London imparts him (and no others) with the instincts of a wolf, an some very unbelivable 'yearning' to 'go back to nature' which is just victorian melodrama of the worst anthromorphisation. Apparently his large dog build gives him a competitivie advantage over evolution's million years of perfecting a wolf.
White fang is almost as bad, White fang being a wolf quarter dog hybrid (already pretty improbable) suddenly decides for no explained reason other than 'racial memory' which doesn't exist that humans are automatically good. I have no issues with a wolf being tamed, all animals can be tamed, but it's a specific process not a genetic compulsion. And he reverts from a wild creature to a sled dog over the course of a slightly longer novel.
Interspersed with these annoying inaccuracies are tediously long descriptions sometimes of the dogs mental states, followed byt he disclaimer that they aren't feeling as a human would. It's all just annoying. There are pages of and pages of dog fights too, slash turn run away shoulder barge slash. etc.
The good bits in both stories are the occasionally moving portrayals of how the dogs interact with man. Probably best read if you don't own a dog, but do kind of like them.
Both stories are excellently written - and were far more enjoyable than I had hoped they would be.
Being Highly interested in that story I was compelled to read these two stories.
I have read The Call of the Wild and am 2 chapters into White Fang. I really did love the former and I can see why it was the inspiration of McCandless. Following the story from the view point of Buck, the cross-breed house dog who was kidknapped to the hard wilds of the Northlands was written fantastically and in a believeble manner. Great story and portrayal of the relationship between man and dog.
Highly recommend this book, and I look forward to completing White Fang
The musing thing is the domestic dog turns wild and the wild dog happily accepts domesticity.
"White Fang" is a more substantial work that in some ways reverses the theme of "The Call of the Wild", as we see the progression of White Fang, a wolf/dog born in the wild who follows his mother as she returns to the Yeehat tribe she left during a famine some years back. White Fang learns the ways of these gods who are now his masters, until he is sold to a cruel white human who makes him a sport-fighting dog and brutalizes him until he is a merciless hate-filled demon of a dog. When a kind human liberates him from his torment, it is an open question if, and to what degree, White Fang can join the society of man and canine. I actually enjoyed this more than London's more famous work. It was also surprising to me that a pair of books written over a century ago could show such enlightened attitudes about human society and animal treatment.
Buck is a dog that was sold from his serene California home to become a sled dog. After insurmountable odds and countless tragedies, Buck finally learns to become one with his wild side in Call of the Wild.
White Fang takes us on a journey with the half sled dog half wolf dog pup who shares the same name as the book. After being sold in order to save an Indian village he becomes a fighting dog who is later saved by a kindly Sheriff that teaches him to trust man again.
I think Jack London's books are popular as classics and have stood the test of time simply because of the tremendous roller coaster ride that each one takes you through. The books are skillfully written and easy to follow the heart-wrenching downfalls and short bursts of happiness as London takes you through his stories of the wild dog. London is also very skilled at making the human the villain and showing just how cruel we can be to our animal brethren.
I enjoyed these books but like I said it's a roller coaster ride. It's just tragedy after tragedy and doesn't seem to lift you up very high after the tragedies until the very end when the dogs are finally liberated. I would definitely recommend these books to anyone who likes animals or enjoys classics.
Took forever for me to have time to finish all of this but we loved it. The descriptiveness and clarity used had an entrancing effect on me as stories of my childhood. I loved it. My daughter (10) also kept asking for more every night.
London's storytelling is vivid as he captures the primal, violent, self-preserving thoughts of his bestial protagonists, even amidst human cruelty, violence, and compassion. London seems to capture in these two stories, beasts that roam free and wild, without fetters and shadows humanity as it really is whether or not we believe in evolution or in God.
This specific edition of Call and the Wild and White Fang is an excellent edition due to its introduction of the author, Jack London, whose life is not only very interesting but illuminates the reading of his two novels to a greater level of appreciation.
I can't quite feel comfortable with the level of violence in this book. I must have noticed it when I was young and it didn't stick with me but I would hesitate to recommend this to very young readers.