Gold in the Yukon and Naturalism: Jack London’s Novella "The Call of the Wild"
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Imagine this: Gold was just discovered in the Yukon Territory of Canada, and many gold miners rush to the North to see if they can strike rich. However, in order to do so, they need big, strong dogs with warm coats to protect them from the biting cold. As a result, a dog from the sunny state of California is dog napped and taken to be sold to anyone who is willing to buy him. When the dog is sold, he is shipped to the cold North. As he gets out of the boat, a chilling wind runs past him and, he realizes that he isn’t in California anymore. As the dog continues to live life with the other sled dogs, he realizes that in the North only the toughest can survive. The very same happens to Buck, a half St. Bernard and half sheepdog, in Jack…show more content… He explodes with rage and kills many of the Indians before he escapes into the wild and lives the rest of his life as the leader of a pack of wolves. Throughout the novella, many characteristics of Naturalism arise including the time, the geographical location, and the concept of survival of the fittest.
One characteristic of Naturalism in the novella is the time in which the story takes place. In the North, men begin to find gold in what is called the Klondike gold rush. Other men rush to the North in order to get rich. However, in order to travel throughout the land, they require many strong and furry-coated dogs to pull their sleds. This leads to Buck’s kidnapping and his adventures in the North. In the beginning of the novel, the narrator says, “...men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing into the Northland. These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost.” (1) This shows that time plays an important role in the novel because the gold rush requires many dogs like Buck since many men went up North to strike it rich and they needed a way in which they could transport themselves and their supplies. Manuel kidnaps Buck because the gold rush offered him a chance to sell Buck and get money. Since Manuel sells Buck,