Wilderness in Call of the Wild by Jack London Essay

573 Words3 Pages
Symbolism Many of the characters in The Call of the Wild symbolize specific qualities. One example of this is Mercedes. She represents greed and being spoiled. Mercedes enters the wilderness clueless to what toll it will take on her. “”Undreamed of!” cried Mercedes, throwing up her hands in dainty dismay” (73). This quote shows that she was expecting (and hoping) for a more pampered way of life out in the Klondike. Mercedes could also represent the unpreparedness of most of the people going to the Klondike gold rush. The Klondike gold rush was so glamorized that everyone thought that they could do it. In reality, the gold rush was much harsher than most people thought it was.
Another example of symbolism in The Call of The Wild is
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She is extremely out of place in the untamed wilds. Jack London uses Mercedes to convey his ideas of this theme. Since she is so used to her pampered life, she expects the wilderness to be the same. Mercedes and Buck are connected in this way. Buck was used to a pampered life, but adapts to the wild by embracing his primitive instincts gradually through the book. Mercedes, on the other hand, is a prime example of all of the bad qualities to have in the wilderness; She is extremely presumptuous, and spoiled. An example of these qualities is when Mercedes wants to be pulled on the sled. “It was her custom to be helpless” (83). Instead of adapting like Buck does, Mercedes tries to transfer her luxury live to the wild. By adding Buck and Mercedes, Jack London shows that he is not making a value judgment on wealthy people. He shows that two characters can come from the same background, but be entirely different. Another theme is that primitive instincts can be strong. This is mostly shown through Buck. He quickly realizes that he needs to embrace these instincts or die. “And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again. The domesticated generations long dead became alive again” (31). This quote shows how powerful Buck’s feelings are. After a short time in the wild, Buck’s long dead instincts are awakened.

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