It’s been a long time since I finished this book off (I actually started reading Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood” soon after, so there went all plans to do a book post right away), so let’s get right down to it!
If I had to describe these two books in one sentence, I would say this: They complement each other. Simply put, “The Call of the Wild” follows a dog who moves from the comfort of his human master to the more unforgiving master that is the wilderness. “White Fang,” however, is the complete opposite—it follows a wolf-dog from the harshness of his surroundings to the warmth that comes with (the right) human companionship.
“The Call of the Wild” starts off on a calm note, with the protagonist Buck in his master’s home. But things pick up when he is kidnapped and sold off as a sled dog. From then on, the rules he’s grown to know for most of his life—that of man—are broken little by little as he adjusts to the rules of the wild. With each turn, Buck’s mind sharpens. Yet, near the end of the novel, his ties to domesticity, to man, is broken for good.
The titular character in “White Fang” goes from wild to domesticity, but not without the harsh rule of man. After his human is tricked, White Fang lands in the greedy lap of another human—one who decides to use him in dog fights. But when White Fang no longer becomes useful, another human steps in to save him. At first this confuses the wild wolf-dog, but it is the beginning of a path to an unconditional love that exists between man and animal.
As a small side-note, more than ten years have passed since I read “The Call of the Wild,” and as for “White Fang,” I hadn’t read it at all (and watching the movie does not count). Still, I enjoyed both tales cover to cover.
Until next time!