The Call of the Wild
Jack London
Contributed by Elene Blackwelder
Chapter 7
Summary

Thornton uses the winnings to pay off some of his debts, as well as to finance the search for the lost mines in the northern wilderness. He purchases six other dogs and begins the journey in the company of his partners, Hans and Pete. They look for food as they travel, often hunting and fishing. On other days, they thrive in hunger — and it is all part of the experience. Their journey lasts through the summer, fall, and winter; in spring they discover a shallow stream with an abundance of gold. They camp at the site and the men begin working, leaving the animals with nothing to do with their time. Buck still likes sleeping near the fire, again pondering about the different things concerning the ancient man and his primitive experiences. He also hears the call from the forest and he follows it, leading him into meeting a wolf with whom he becomes friends before heading back to the camp. 

After two days in the camp, Buck feels restless and goes back into the forest to look for the wolf. For days, he survives by killing prey and is proud of his abilities. He once kills a large bull by harassing him for days until the weakened animal cannot defend himself.

Buck senses a change in the life coming from the valley and he hastens back to the camp. There, he finds all the dogs and the men dead, with arrows coming out of their bodies. He attacks the Yeehats responsible for the deaths, and kills several of them before they escape. Thornton is also among the dead, and this creates a void in Buck.

He hears the call again. Since his master is now gone, he decides to follow it — upon which he meets a pack of wolves. The pack seems unfriendly but soon Buck notices the wolf he had already met previously. The familiarity makes the other wolves calm down, and Buck starts running with them side by side.

For years, the Yeehats tell stories about a Ghost Dog that has troubled them for long. They even avoid a certain valley due to the evil spirit that resides there. During the summer, the valley receives a single visitor, a coated wolf-like creature who seemingly looks like other wolves and somehow seems different from all of them; the leader of the wolf pack.

Analysis

The gold rush was a promising venture and many people were trying to make the most out of it. This notion explains Thornton’s decisions to set out in search of the lost mines in the north. Along with his partners, he intends to find the mines since such a discovery will leave them rich. The gold they finally find is located on shallow ground, and the task of panning it does not require the services offered by the dogs. Through this, Buck gets a chance to explore and get in touch with his primitive side. He is not any ordinary predator for he has accumulated a lot of experience as compared to other animals. The encounter with the wolf makes it apparent that he fits in well with the wolves, although he has a bigger body than them. 

The death of everyone in the group, including Buck’s teammates and the three men, finally breaks his ties with humans. This is especially true for Thornton, who was his only remaining — and genuine — human connection. Furthermore, the encounter with the Yeehats, and the act of killing several of them, shows how humans are no longer the same creatures he had perceived before, which subsequently makes him less fearful — especially those without clubs, arrows, and spears. As a born leader, Buck easily takes the role of leading the wolf pack, and the stories spoken by the Yeehats portrays his mightiness especially after having embraced his wild side. 

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