Jack London spent a year living in the Yukon and drew heavily upon his experiences there while writing his two classics, The Call of the Wild and White Fang. He later said, "It was in the Klondike that I found myself."
The Call of the Wild is one of Jack London's most popular novels. The story follows a dog named Buck, a 140lb Saint Bernard and Scotch Shepard mix. Buck is abducted from a comfortable life as a pet and tossed into the chaos of the Klondike Gold Rush and the brutal realities of frontier life. Buck changes hands a number of times before landing in the kindly hands of John Thornton. Thornton takes ownership of Buck from a trio of ignorant stampeders, intent upon making a dangerous river crossing. Buck refuses to cross, despite a vicious beating. Thornton recognizes the dogs intelligence and strength. He steps in to claim the dog and nurses Buck back to health. But Buck is forever changed by the treatment he has received at the hands of other men.
A companion novel to The Call of the Wild, White Fang is the story of a wild dog's journey toward becoming civilized. The much loved book is characteristic of London's precise prose style and innovation use of voice and perspective. Much of the novel is written from the viewpoint of the animals, allowing London to explore how animals view their world and how they view humans. White Fang relies on his instincts as well as his strength and courage to survive in the Yukon wilderness-despite both animal and human predators-and eventually comes to make his peace with man.
"Published in 1903 and often considered to be his masterpiece, London's version of the classic quest story using a dog as the protagonist has sometimes been erroneously categorized as a children's novel. Buck, who is shipped to the Klondike to be trained as a sled dog, eventually reverts to his primitive, wolf-like ancestry. He then undertakes an almost mythical journey, abandoning the safety of his familiar world to encounter danger, adventure, and fantasy. When he is transformed into the legendary "Ghost Dog" of the Klondike, he has become a true hero."
- Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature.
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About the Author
Some of his most famous works include The Call of the Wild and White Fang, both set in the Klondike Gold Rush, as well as the short stories "To Build a Fire", "An Odyssey of the North", and "Love of Life". He also wrote of the South Pacific in such stories as "The Pearls of Parlay" and "The Heathen", and of the San Francisco Bay area in The Sea Wolf.
London was a passionate advocate of unionization, socialism, and the rights of workers and wrote several powerful works dealing with these topics such as his dystopian novel The Iron Heel, his non-fiction exposé The People of the Abyss, and The War of the Classes.