The Call of the Wild Versus Into the Wild

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Chris McCandless and Buck serve as examples of the archetype of the wild through their experiences of leaving where they feel most comfortable and answering the call of the wild. They show that each experience is inimitable because the wild is unique to every individual. For Buck, the wild is a place outside of civilization and his dependence on man, where the external threats of nature exist and he must prove himself as a true animal with instincts for survival. In McCandless' case, the place outside of civilization is actually an escape from his fears because the wild for him is in relationships, where the threat of intimacy exists and he must learn to trust others for happiness. This is because for each of us, the wild is what we fear, a place outside of our comfort zone and, as McCandless' experience shows, not necessarily a physical place. To render to the call of the wild we must leave everything that makes us feel protected, and we must make ourselves completely vulnerable to the wild. McCandless and Buck show that in order to successfully respond to the call of the wild we must relinquish control and drop our guards, until ultimately the fear subsides and we find peace with ourselves as well as with our environments.

In The Call of the Wild, Buck finds comfort in his relationships with man. When he is initially removed from Judge Miller's house in Santa Clara Valley, he is given his first exposure to the wild where, "every moment life and limb were in peril" (London 31). But soon he finds himself not entirely ready to leave civilization and answer the call of the wild, because he must first experience love. Buck establishes a relationship with John Thornton, and "love, genuine passionate love, was his for the fir...

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...e with his family name, Chris McCandless.

Buck and McCandless had two very distinct experiences with their journey to answer the call of the wild because the wild was different for each of them. However both had to sacrifice their comfort zone to successfully answer the call. For Buck, who was successful in his transformation, it was his attachment to man to yield to the demands of dangerous wild. For McCandless, the sacrifice was the shell that he had built around his heart to protect himself from trusting his fellow man. For everyone the call of the wild is unique, because the wild is what each of us fears and in order to answer the call we must submit to find peace with ourselves. In order to respond to the call, as McCandless and Buck show, we must release control of our protective surroundings, making us completely vulnerable to the call of the wild.
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