A View on the Theme Analysis of The call of the Wild


              台声 ? 新视角   2005 ?            8


A View o n t he Theme Analysis of The □  of t he Wild call
Wang Xiangling ( Sias U niversit y  Xinzheng ?Henan   4

Abstract  This paper analyzes t he t heme of The Call of t he Wild f ro m human’s living , working and feeling per spectives , which reveals t he relatio nship between animal world and human societ y. The animal world is act ually a reflectio n of human societ y ; t hey are similar to each ot her ; what exist s in t he fo rmer act ually al so exist s in t he lat ter. Key words   animal   humanit y   reflectio n

中图分类号 :J 90       文献标识码 :A       文章编号 :1002 - 9788 ( 2005) 08 - 173 - 02   The Call of t he Wild , is o ne of J ack London mo st pop2 ’s ular novels. It apparently is a dog’s story. In t he deep part , Lo ndo n makes a reflection of t he real human life t hrough Buck life. He t reat s animals like human beings and human ’s beings like animals , recognizing no essential difference be2 tween man and animal. J ack London uncanny understanding ’s of animal and human nat ures give t his novel a st riking vitality and power. After reading it , people co uld not help pondering over his own life and t hinking about what is t he real meaning of human nat ure t hat always reso unds in t he inner heart like t he call f rom t he wild appealing Buck to ret urn to it s arms. Buck story in fact is a human’s life story. Some interesting ’s comparisons will show how amazingly similar t hese tow worlds are , and so me inspirations can be drawn f rom t his al2 legoric sto ry. 1 People can easily find a human beings’ surviving expe2 riences in t he society f ro m Buck o ne. U ntil he is kidnapped , ’s Buck lives t he life of a sated aristocrat . His education into t he harsh realities of an unp rotected life begins shortly after he is abducted. In a fever of pain and rage , Buck meet s t he man in t he red sweater , who p rovides t he first step of his ini2 tiation into t he wild. Buck had never been st ruck wit h a club in his life , but again and again , he is brought crushingly to t he ground by a vicious blow of t he club. Alt hough his rage knows no bounds and alt ho ugh he is a large , powerf ul dog , he is no match fo r a man who knows how to handle a club ef 2 ficiently. Buck t hus learns his first lesso n : a man wit h a club is a master to be o beyed. “That club was a revelatio n. It was his int roduction to t he reign of p rimitive law , and he met t he int roduction half - way” Having seen a dog t hat wo uld nei2 . t her obey nor co nciliate killed makes t he alternatives clear to him : to o bey , to conciliate , or to die ; and Buck is above all a survivor. He knows he is beaten. This is obviously a man’s unfo rt unate life sto ry’s beginning. The man in his childhood has lived a wealt hy , comfo rtable life totally wit hout worries , t hus he has been co ntent , p ro ud and at t he same time inno2 cent , t hat is why t he accident happens easily. After being be2 t rayed by his f riend , he slump s into a misery sit uatio n. At t he beginning of it , he neit her understands nor believes it . He is suffering and angry , he resist s boldly wit h hopes to re2 cover to his fo rmer life but he is f rust rated again and again
and finally he realizes t he hash reality and gives in to t he fate. Buck’s next lesson takes place when Curly , his f riend , is killed by t he huskies when she makes f riendly advances to one of t hem. In two minutes , she is literally to rn to pieces. “So t hat was t he way. No fair play. Once down , t hat was t he end of you. ” This is man Buck’s second great lesson in . his new life. Though many people experience t he same miser2 y sit uatio n , t hey have no sympat hies to each ot her. Once giv2 en t he chance , t hey also play t he po sition of t he st ronger using t heir st rengt h to bully t he weaker , crushing t he weaker into pieces. “He must master o r be mastered ; while to show mercy was a weakness. Mercy did not exist in t he p rimo rdial life. It was misunderstood fo r fear , and such misunderstand2 ings made fo r deat h. Kill or be killed , eat or be eaten , was t he law. ”It seems only one law works in t he world , bot h men and beast s o beying - t he law of club and fang , in anot her word , only t he fittest can survive” . 2 people can also see t he t rut h t hro ugh Buck’s wo rking experiences. Buck has four set s of masters in t urn , and t hey are act ually t he four types of bo sses people p robably meet in life. Initially , come t he essentially fair and efficient govern2 ment couriers Francois and Perrault . U nder t heir administ ra2 tion Buck comes into his own again. He gradually get s p ride in his wo rk and lo ngs to gain t he leadership in t he wo rking gro up . “Buck wanted it (leadership ) . He wanted it because it was his nat ure. ”After Spit s’ deat h , Buck p rotest s against Perrault’s arrangement of p utting Sol - leks in t he leading po2 sitio n. He want s to “ have t he leadership . It was his by right . He had owned it , and he wo uld not be co ntent wit h less. ”It is easy to rep roduce man Buck wo rking experience : ’s Sinking f rom t he wealt hy life to t he p resent hard life , he must to work to earn his bread. His first bo ss is fair and im2 partial ; t herefore , he is able to develop p ride in his jo b t ho ugh it is no easy wo rk. . He even cultivates t he ambitio n to get t he leadership of his work , and after severe competi2 tion , he wins it . Later t he “scotch half - breed ”in charge of t he mail t rain is also just and respect s t he dogs and spares t hem what suffering he can. However Buck sit uatio n worsens :“It was ’s 173

学 术 前 沿             台声 ? 新视角   2005 ? 8
a monotonous life , operating wit h machine - like regularity. One day was very like anot her. ”In t he human world , t he re2 ality is also like t his. People have to work tedio usly day after day , and each day is very like t he ot her. Each day people get up , have dinner , go to work , t hen ret urn home at a certain time. Almo st everyt hing is fixed. To make it worse , many people s work is not desirable and uncreative. People do it ’ just to earn his living. There is no pleasure in such a jo b , however , people have to take it fo r t heir living and for t heir respo nsibility , just like Buck who “did not like it , but he bore up well to t he work , taking p ride in it , and seeing that his mates did t heir fair share. ” Mercedes , Charles , and Hal have no respect to t he dogs , and are made fo r t he worst of t he bo ss : “Buck felt vaguely t hat t here was no depending upo n t hese two men and t he wo man. They did not know how to do anyt hing ” and , “t hey could not learn. They were slack in all t hings , wit hout order or discipline. ”Such kind of people is everywhere in t he human wo rld. Many high stat us leaders know little of t he p ractical wo rk , but t hey co mmand t he subo rdinators to sub2 mit to t hem absolutely. They do not respect t heir colleagues , ref use to accept advice and too arrogant to learn f rom ot hers. When t here is no harm to t heir own benefit , so me of t hem appear sympat hetic , indulgent but wit ho ut discipline , t hus t hey cause t he disorder of t he work circumstances. When it comes to harm t heir own interest s , t hey expo se t heir selfish nat ure. They do not consider t he workers’ welfare and even fo rce t hem to work under bad conditio ns. U nder t heir admin2 ist ratio n , even Buck lo ses his p ride and respo nsibility for his work :“Buck , still at t he head of t he team , but no longer en2 fo rcing discipline or st riving to enforce it . ” Then co mes John Tho rnton , t he ideal master , who“saw to t he welfare of his dogs as if t hey were his own children , because he could not help it . ” John Thornto n stands fo r t he ideal bo ss , who is wise , t rustwo rt hy , knows his business clearly , and takes care of his underlings , but above all , he po ssesses fat herly love to his subo rdinato rs , which will defi2 nitely be ret urned. 3 People can see so met hing f rom the emotional aspect of Buck. Buck has all t he emotio ns human beings po ssess. At t he former life he is p roud and content for “he was king king over all creeping , crawling , flying t hings of J udge Mill2 er’s place , humans included. ”When ill t reated , he feels an2 gry , but has confidence in his own ability and want s to retali2 ate ,“ He was glad for o ne t hing : t he rope was off his neck. That had given t hem an unfair advantage ; but now t hat it was off , he would show t hem” Since he is yo ung , inexperi2 . enced , it is nat ural fo r him to grow irrational and hot headed when meeting f rust rations ,“ This time he was aware t hat it was t he club , but his madness knew no cautio n. A dozen times he charged , and as often t he club broke t he charge and smashed him down ” When he realizes his sit uatio n is un2 . changeable , he admit s his failure but keep s his dignity ,“ He was beaten ( he knew it ) ; but he was not broken”“A man ; wit h a club was a law - giver , a master to be o beyed , t hough not necessarily co nciliated. ”He is as ambitio us as any human to st rive fo r t he leadership , “Buck wanted it (leadership ) . He wanted it because it was his nat ure. ” But above all t hings , Buck has a kind of st ro ng love , t hat is feverish and burning , t hat is ado ration , t hat is madness. When Jo hn Thornton arouses his love , his attachment to t his master is so st ro ng t hat he fears to be departed f ro m him :“Even in t he night , in his dreams , he was haunted by t his fear. At such times he wo uld shake off sleep and creep t hro ugh t he chill to t he flap of t he tent , where he would stand and listen to t he 174 so und of his master’s breat hing” When he is st ro ngly called . by the nat ure to ret urn to t he forest , he still remains at Tho rnto n camp because of his great love fo r him. ’s Anot her impo rtant feeling in Buck is his respo nse to his nat ure - t he call of t he wild. The call so unds in t he dept hs of t he fo rest . “It fills him a great unrest and st range desires. It caused him to feel a vague , sweet gladness , and he was a2 ware of wild yearning and stirrings for he knew not what ” . Buck is eager to seek fo r t he mysterious call t hat calls , wake or sleeping , at all times , fo r him to co me. Act ually t he call of t he wild stands for o ne’ s nat ure - t he human nat ure fo r simple , easygoing , independent and f ree life. Alt ho ugh t he modern society is p ro spero us and people can savor material enjoyment s , few people feel happy and co ntent . Mo st people do t he tedio us work day by day. U ncreative , uninteresting as t he wo rk is , t hey have to co ntinue doing so just in o rder to live on. A few better - off people are able to live an unwo r2 ried life materially , but still seldo m feel happ y because t hey are caught by a sense of void and cannot find o ut t he meaning of living. All t he people are act ually and spirit ually lo st . Hu2 man beings create a t remendo us social machine in o rder to live comfo rtably and enjoyably , but o nly to find being con2 t rolled by it and once it start s , no way to escape. They are forced to keep pace wit h t he social machine and t ho se who cannot catch t he tempo are destined to die. In such p ressing circumstances , so me people begin to meditate. They desire st ro ngly t he simple but f ree life t hat t heir nat ure root s in. If t he society is t he ideal o ne - f ull of love , running at o rder , wit h justice and fair play , it is still bearable to live in it t ho ugh working under high p ressure. Once such ideal plan bankrupted , t here is no reluctance to abandon it at t he p rice of giving up luxurious material enjoyment s and convenient modern facilities to live a simple , self - dependent , spirit ual2 ly f ree life. Buck love to Jo hn Thornton can also be taken as ’s t he love to t he ideal civilized society. That is why Buck hesi2 tates to come to t he forest in spite of his st rong desire to do so . Once his hope for such a society is wrecked , t here is no bo und of his desire for f reedom. He , t herefore , ret urns to t he fo rest and becomes a wolf after John Thornton’ s deat h , “Jo hn Thornton was dead. The last tie was bro ken. Man and t he claims of man no longer bound him” In fact , Buck does . not do t his wit hout regret . Jo hn Tho rnto n’ s deat h “left a great void in him , so mewhat akin to hunger , but a void which ached and ached , and which food co uld not fill. ”Peo2 ple resort to living in a nat ural life because t hey cannot find t heir way in building t heir ideal life. The Call of t he Wild expo ses t he essence of human life : ’s f rom t he society perspective , t here seems to be only one law in t his wo rld , which bot h men and beast s obey - only t he fit2 test can survive in t he st ro ngly competitive world ; f rom t he individual perspective , people always yearn to get rid of t he st raining modern life rhyme to live a simple , quiet and f ree life. In fact , t he social machine is too powerf ul to be es2 caped , and people can see t heir own nat ure in t his novel , t hat is why t he novel causes such a great resonance. References :
1. London , J ack. The call of t he Wild New York : Bantam Boo ks , 1981. 2. Tavernit y - Courbin , J acqueline. “The call of t he Wild : J ack London Animal and Human J ungle. ”American realism and Nat u2 ’s ralism. Ed. Donald Pizer . New York : Cambridge Universit y Press , 1995. 240 - 244. 3. Stone , Irving. Sailor on Horseback : The Biograp hy of J ack London. Cambridge , MA : Houghton Mifflin , 1938.


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