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Free Study Guide-The Call of the Wild by Jack London-Free Book Notes
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The first gold rush in America took place in California. This novel deals with the second gold rush, the Klondike Gold Rush; it took place at the end of the nineteenth century in the cold, Arctic regions of the Yukon Valley in far Northwestern Canada and Alaska. It took great fortitude and will power to exist in the harsh, frozen climate of the Yukon Territory that is depicted in the book. Most of the setting is in the wild, but Dawson City is also pictured. This town sprawled over the triangle formed by the Klondike River, the Yukon River, and Moosehide Mountain.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major Characters

Buck

The protagonist of the story. He is a huge dog, a cross between a St. Bernard and a Scotch Shepherd. He is stolen from his home in Santa Clara, California and sold to work in the Yukon Territory. The novel narrates his adventures.

Spitz

A Husky, equal to the size of a full-grown wolf. He is the cruel leader of the pack that kills Curly and that later Buck fights. After Buck defeats him, he takes over Spitz's position of leader.

Perrault

A French-Canadian with swarthy looks. He is Buck's first master in the Yukon and is cruel to the dog.


Francois

A French Canadian Half-breed, twice as swarthy as Perrault.

John Thornton

An informed and interested trapper in the Yukon, who rescues Buck from the tenderfoot explorers. Buck becomes very devoted to his master, who is a strict disciplinarian.

Minor Characters

Judge Miller

Buck's original owner in Santa Clara. Buck is born on his estate and lives there for the first five years of his life until he is stolen.

Manuel

Miller's Mexican gardener, who steals Buck and sells him for money to gamble.

Curly

A friendly Newfoundland Dog (similar to the St. Bernard in appearance), who is Buck's friend. She makes the boat trip North with Buck and is then killed by Spitz.

Dave

A member of the dogsled team. He is an experienced wheeler and one of Buck's "teachers".

Sol-leks

The angry dog on the sled team, who asks nothing and gives nothing. His one peculiarity is that he does not like to be approached on his blind side.

Billee

A good-natured dog on the team from whom Buck learns how to sleep in the snow.

Joe

A sour and introspective dog on the team. He has a perpetual snarl, and even Spitz cannot discipline him.

Pike, Dub, and Dolly

Other dogs on the dogsled team.

Scotch Half-breed

A man who delivers mail in the North. He buys the dog team, including Buck, from Perrault and overworks the dogs.

Mercedes, Charles and Hal

Tenderfoot explorers in the Yukon Territory, who buy the team from the Scotch Half-breed. Mercedes and Charles are husband and wife. Hal is her brother. They are inexperienced in the ways of the Arctic and dogsledding. They are also cruel and foolish, meeting with an untimely death.

Skeet

An Irish Setter who belongs to Thornton before Buck's arrival and who mothers Buck.

Nig

Another of Thornton's dogs who has eyes that laugh and a boundless good nature.

Hans and Pete

Thornton's partners who travel with him on the search for the lost gold mine.

"Black" Barton

An evil-tempered man, who attacks Thornton, and is then, attacked by Buck.

Matthewson

The man who lays the wager for a thousand dollars that Buck cannot pull a thousand-pound load.

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