Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No. 12 - The Call of the Wild and White Fang

by Jack London

Started: February 24
Finished: March 1

Notes: This is actually two short novels combined into one book. I've been meaning to read "The Call of the Wild" for years, as its one of those classics that has slipped past my readings all these years. Considering "The Call of the Wild" is supposed to be an allegory, at least according to many literary scholars, for London's strange mixture of beliefs about society, socialism and individualism, I believe I'll find this quite interesting.

Mini review: Of the two tales here, "The Call of the Wild" is the one better written and most emotional for the reader. That being said, "White Fang" is the more complex of the two, and it has the happy Hollywood ending that is denied in "The Call of the Wild." Overall I preferred "The Call of the Wild," probably because the darkness within the tale borders on the Stygian depths of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," the sharpest moments of madness of Ahab in "Moby Dick" and other such dark stories. The main difference here is "The Call of the Wild" is the story of a dog, not a man, though the allegory is somewhat obvious (even moreso in "White Fang," actually). "White Fang" is practically an opposite tale of "The Call of the Wild," and is more complex mainly because of that opposite. In other words, it's much easier to turn a decent dog into a brute than it is to completely rehabilitate a brute into a decent dog (or man). I should have read both these stories years ago and am sorry I didn't.

6 comments:

von Darkmoor said...

The Call of the Wild and Jack London - two of my favorites.

von Darkmoor said...

http://www.loa.org/volume.jsp?RequestID=100

More Jack info for you. I'm much more inclined to read his The Road before that other guy's.

Ty Johnston said...

Jason, thanks for the link. Looks like I'll be adding some things to my TBR pile.

I've read Cormac McCarthy's The Road. You're not missing anything.

cindy said...

i remember really love these books--but i can't remember a THING about them. time to reread?? augh--my TBR is so huge, i can never reread books anymore, it seems.

von Darkmoor said...

Cindy, with the rate your Goodreads keeps updating me, you seem to be reading books faster than anyone I know!

Clark said...

These stories were probably my two favorites when I was young ... with the possible exception of Around the World in 80 Days.