February 25, 2013
London uses each character to move Buck alone in his journey from civilized to wild.
Judge Miller sets Buck’s standards of his surroundings, making him think of people in a good, innocent way. He raised Buck “at a big house in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley” (5). He taught Buck how to be civilized which means following the rules and living in an orderly way. Buck never did anything bad because he was happy and didn’t want anything more. Buck was fed and taken care of; He was dependent on Judge Miller who treated him like a king. Buck’s standards were set very high.
Buck learns not to trust a man because of Manuel. Manuel betrays him, selling him to a mean man who abuses him. When he was being sold, “Manuel doubled a piece of stout rope around Bucks neck, under the collar” (7). He had been sold to slavery when the “rope tightened around his neck” (7).
The Man in the red sweater is Buck’s introduction to the primitive world, to a world that is uncivilized and unlike what Buck had experienced before. Jack London writes, “a dozen times he charged, and as often the club broke the charge and smashed him down” (11) The Man in the red sweater makes Buck realize when a man has a weapon, he is above all creatures and “was a lawgiver, a master to be obeyed” (12). He makes him mad and more violent, but then he also makes him think about cause and affect and the consequences of his actions. This would help him in the wild. He has more knowledge now. Buck also sees other dogs getting hurt, and learns what happens when you fall. He makes sure that he is never going to fall or be weak in front of anyone.
Francois and Perrault helped Buck learn how to survive in harsh surroundings. Francois and Perrault are fair to all the animals. They understand that it is rough condition for the dogs; that they work hard and should not be overworked. They cared for the dogs. Perrault makes moccasins for Buck, which helps Buck’s feet adapt to the cold and hard surfaces. They helped Buck learn to be a sled dog, and how to survive in the cold weather with low amount of food.
When Buck is with the Scotch Half-Breed, he experiences a vision into his ancestors’ past. He is becoming like his ancestors, connecting with them.