In the novel The Call of the Wild, what does Buck's fondness for Thornton signify?   I understand how he is the "ideal master," but what does this symbolize?

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Buck has been kidnapped from a loving home and treated abominably by humans. In his short life, he's already seen both the good side of man—when he was playing happily on the ranch—and the bad side—when he was abducted and shoved aboard a train heading for the frozen north. Given...

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Buck has been kidnapped from a loving home and treated abominably by humans. In his short life, he's already seen both the good side of man—when he was playing happily on the ranch—and the bad side—when he was abducted and shoved aboard a train heading for the frozen north. Given what's happened to him, it would be no surprise if Buck never trusted another human being as long as he lived. That he does learn to trust humans again is due in no small part to Thornton. It's Thornton who saves Buck's life, and whose kindness and consideration help to restore Buck's damaged faith in humanity. Although Buck, through his various adventures, becomes more and more in touch with his wolf ancestry, he'll always retain a spark of the domestic animal that once playfully gamboled around Judge Miller's ranch without a care in the world. And the kindly Thornton is mainly responsible for this.

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In the novel The Call of the Wild, Buck has gone from being a beloved pet, to a hardened dog capable of withstanding almost anything. When Thornton rescues Buck, the dog comes full circle to truly love a human being again.  Buck loves Thornton, which shows that he is still capable of being able to love after all of the abuse, that he is willing to give up everything for the love of this man and stay with humans despite listening to the wolf call.  When Buck is out of the camp and comes back to find Thornton and all of the others dead, he gives up his desire to stay with humans, meaning Thornton, and answers the "call of the wild".  He has now truly become a creature of the wild just like the wolf and returns to his ancestral state of a wild, undomesticated creature.

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