The Call of the Wild: Winds of Change
In Jack London’s The Call of the Wild anthropomorphism shapes our understanding of Buck’s emotional state because it projects, evolves and shows the way Buck adapts to his new environment. Anthropomorphism as a literary device impacts this book, along with allegory, metonymy, and juxtaposition. Anthropomorphism allows us to see how Buck evolves throughout the book. Allegory shows us the deeper message of the story, namely that animal cruelty is wrong. Metonymy shows us that not everything is as it seems. Finally, juxtaposition allows us to be able to compare Buck’s life before he was kidnapped to life after he was kidnapped.
In the story, Buck’s emotions, thoughts, and actions are projected as if he is human and we get to see what makes him different from the other animals. Buck’s internal landscape is revealed by the writer’s depiction of his emotional state. For example, “But Buck possessed a quality that made for greatness – imagination” ( 24 ). Buck was not like the other dog because he wasn’t trained to be an arctic dog, and yet he still came out on top. His adaptability allows him to grow and change, ensuring his survival. He did not make the same mistake twice. Instead, he watched and learned from the other dogs, and he used his imagination and knowledge to beat his foes – “He fought by instinct, but he could fight by head as well” ( 24 ).
Furthermore, the way Buck feels about being in the wild changes through the course of the book. We get to see if Buck will make the most of the wild or if the wild will make the worst out of Buck “The dominant primordial beast was strong in Buck, and under the fierce conditions of trail life it grew and grew” (15). This quote means that the Buck is changing; he has learned to be more aggressive and to take leadership, and that he’s become more of a feral animal. He has all the qualities of a ferocious animal in his blood passed down through generations but since birth he’s lived a domesticated life being shielded from the hard work of trail life. He is no longer pampered once his introduced to trail life, he has learned to fight for his food and steal if he needs to. Although he has learned many new skills, he is still egotistical especially after he kills Spitz. He feels that he should take Spitz’s place because he killed him “Buck trotted up to the place Spitz would have occupied as a leader” (25).
In conclusion, anthropomorphism shapes our understanding of Buck’s emotional state because it projects, evolves and shows the way Buck adapts to his new environment.
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