Buck In Essay, Research Paper
The Devolution of Buck
In life there is two ways to go, forward and backward. Advancing is often referred to evolution. Devolution is the term used to describe regression. Jack London s Call Of the Wild discuses the later. It takes place in the harsh environment of Alaska and the Yukon. The novel depicts the gold rush era, a time when many animals and humans came to place were they did not belong. The lead character buck is one of them. He is a perfect example of devolution.
Buck begins his devolution in the sun drenched Santa Clara Valley. Living a carefree life on Judge Miller s estate, he is stolen by Manuel the gardener s assistant to pay off some gambling debts. Transported north by train and boat, he meets many strange people. Late in the journey he encounters the man in the red sweater who teaches him the law of the club. Resisting his treatment, he attacks his handler and is beaten severely. Through this experience he learns to except the authority of man. At the end of his voyage, Buck learns the law of the fang, Curley, a dog who is Buck s friend is viciously attacked and killed by a pack of huskies. Buck observed that when Curley was knocked off of his feet he was ripped apart. This was the law of the fang.
Buck s devolution continues in Dyea Beach, Alaska. He is sold to Francwa and Perrault as a sled dog. Through this experience, Buck learns to survive in the frozen north. While a sled dog he acquires fighting skills. In this dog-eat-dog world, Buck paddles his way to the top of the team. Now the dominant primordial beast, he dreams about the past. Late at night, sleeping by the fire Buck sees the harry man. This representation of a primitive Human links him back to his ancestry.
The culmination of Buck s journey envolves John Thorton. For the first time in his life Buck cares for another living thing. Thorton, an injured minor, rescued. Buck from certain death. As a result the dog falls in love with him. While traveling together to the last mines, Buck enjoys freedoms that he has never had before. Able to come and go as he pleases, the dog becomes aware of the call of the wild. Hours turn into days; days turn into weeks as Buck is gone for longer periods of time. On his final journey home he discovers that John Thorton is dead. Rage overcomes Buck, and he kills the men that killed his friend. This act severs the tie he has with the civilized world.
The process being complete, Buck has devolved. As the main character, he has changed from a pet to a wild animal. Most of the individuals who came to the harsh Alaskan wilderness were not so fortunate. Jack London s fascination with adaptation fueled his creation of this story. The question of regression vs. evolution caused him to conclude that there are two major movements in life, forward and backward.