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Overview by Mind Map: Overview
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About the Author

Jack London

January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916

American (born in San Francisco)

Author, journalist

Novels by Jack London

Character List


A powerful dog, half St. Bernard and half sheepdog, who is stolen from a California estate and sold as a sled dog in the Arctic. Buck gradually evolves from a pampered pet into a fierce, masterful animal, able to hold his own in the cruel, kill-or-be-killed world of the North. Though he loves his final master, John Thornton, he feels the wild calling him away from civilization and longs to reconnect with the primitive roots of his species.




A gardener’s helper on Judge Miller’s estate. Manuel kidnaps Buck and sells him in order to pay off his gambling debts.

Themes, Motives & Symbols




About the Book

Type: Novel

Published: 1903

Original Language: English

Story: Set in the Yukon during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush

Influence: Naturalism

American Pastoralism


The novel's central character is a dog named Buck, a domesticated dog living at a ranch in California as the story opens. Stolen from his home and sold into the brutal existence of an Alaskan sled dog, he reverts to atavistic traits. Buck is forced to adjust to, and survive, cruel treatments and fight to dominate other dogs in a harsh climate. Eventually he sheds the veneer of civilization, relying on primordial instincts and lessons he learns, to emerge as a leader in the wild.