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When the way of the wild was a fact of life
am 5. April 2000
Written almost of century ago by Jack London, both of these stories have truly stood the test of time. Both of them are based on London's experience in the Yukon, and both are written from the point of view of dogs.
In "The Call of the Wild", the dog Buck is kidnapped from an easy life and sold to a sled team during the Klondike Gold Rush. In spite of the numerous cruelties inflicted on him, Buck learns to survive. Eventually, he returns to the wild and to run with the wolves.
In "White Fang", the story is reversed. White Fang is three-quarters wolf and was born in the wild. Through a series of events, he is domesticated and eventually becomes a tame and loving pet.
There is much to learn in both of these stories. One thing is the way of animals and their life in the wild. Another is of the way of life in the Yukon. And of the men, both brutal and kind, who rely on the dogs to pull the sleds.
Jack London used his words well. There's an elegant cadence and a vigorous spirit. His love for the animals comes through as well as his respect for the wild forces of nature. And the theme that life changes are really possible because of environmental forces.
London didn't set out to write a story about the glorification of nature or vanishing wildlife. Indeed, during his short lifetime (1876-1916) the way of the wild was a fact of life. London just simply wrote his stories. And through his words, left a legacy of work that will continue to enrich the lives of readers for many generations to come.