Primitivity and Instinctual Acceptance in Jack London’s The Call of the Wild.

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When we think of civilization, what comes to mind? Some might think of etiquette, compassion, and many other concepts of that nature. These are the things that people have come to accept as proper human behaviors. However, what of our more primitive instincts? Things that are often frowned upon such as pride, gut-instincts, and looking out for ourselves first are some of our most basic human needs. People in the modern world would like to rely more on teamwork and recognition that pride and independence. They prefer to trust logic and scientific reasoning in place of trusting what we believe to be right. They also seem to want us to help everyone around us before we do anything to help ourselves. In London’s The Call of the Wild, primitive nature is not something to be feared and overcome, but rather something to be utilized and fulfilled. In The Call of the Wild London uses Buck, a half-wolf-half-dog hybrid, as an example of how if we become comfortable with certain aspects of our more natural, primitive mindset, we will truly be able to be free. We will be without a doubt, independent from the restrictions and barriers established by society. This can be shown when Buck has owners who are so encased in modern society and comfort they have no idea how to survive in the wilderness without all of their luxurious belongings. (London 2) Buck was not truly free until he was released from the bonds of human civilization and social norms, ideals, and restrictions. Once his last ties to the human world were severed with his master, John Thorton’s, death, Buck could fully begin to revert back to his true nature.( London 82-84) This is the way he is supposed to be from the beginning. He is not meant to be controlled, manipulate... ... middle of paper ... ...ghout the novella is that even though we are humans and not animals, if we continue to repress each and every aspect of our own primitive needs and instincts, we will completely lose them. We will not be able to function in any world except the one we live in, making us extremely and very dangerously vulnerable. We need to, instead, embrace these instincts as our ancestors did to help them survive in their own unique, yet brutal environments. We can never revert fully back to Primitivity as Buck did, that would cause absolute chaos. We do however, need to utilize certain aspects of these natures, the ones that can help us survive, give us special intuition, and allow us to come closer to ourselves and understand what it means to be a truly free and independent human being in a world that is entirely too dependent on altering everything that humans need to embrace.

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