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In Jack London's book, The Call of the Wild, Buck at the beginning is a typical treasured pet,well mannered as befits a gentleman's dog, loved, fed without having to do anything for it, and in general, as civilized and tame as any pet could be. When he is kidnapped, he loses a great deal. His losses are the gentile life he led, the certainty of his next meal, the quiet warmth of his home, and the love of his master. What he gains doesn't look like much at first, but he begins the process of learning to survive on his own. He loses his first food because he is still being the civilized dog he was raised to be; as a result, he begins to watch the other dogs to learn how to keep his food and survive. Watching the fights among the other dogs, he learns how to become the top dog in fighting. He learns to watch his new master for the stick or whip. By being aware, aloof, and wary of what will happen next, he adapts to his new life. These skills he must learn help him survive all that will happen to him. By the end of the book, he completes his transition from gentle pet to the one who answers the call of the wild.
If you like this book, be sure to read White Fang, which is London's book where the opposite takes place. The dog/wolf begins as a wild animal and ends up in civilization with a master he loves.
Buck is a Mythic Hero, or someone who does not start out in the right place at the beginning of a story. When he is taken away from Judge Miller's house, he loses almost all of his civilized self. This includes the warmth of the house, the guarantee of food, and of course, his master. Although, when he is forced into the Yukon by Manuel, the gardener, it allows Buck to become his true, wild self. He immediately starts looks survival skills once he reaches the man in the red sweater. For example, the law of club and fang. The law of club is that he simply cannot beat a man with a club, which teaches him how to work his way around it. The law of fang is how to fight, strike and leap away. Buck learned that if did not use these two things, he would not survive.
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