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Jack London$
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Kenneth K. Brandt

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780746312964

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780746312964.001.0001

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Into and Out of the Wild: The Call of the Wild and White Fang

Into and Out of the Wild: The Call of the Wild and White Fang

(p.42) 3 Into and Out of the Wild: The Call of the Wild and White Fang
Jack London

Kenneth K. Brandt

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores London’s two famous dog novels. The Call of the Wild and White Fang are analysed in relation to the themes of initiation, adaptation, captivity, and freedom. Particular emphasis is given to the conflict between the formation of social dominance hierarchies and the urge toward solidarity and cooperation—a key conflict that runs throughout London’s work. The two novels are also considered in relation to a phenomenon the fascinated London: The ability of an organism to override biologically inscribed behavioural scripts and adapt to changing environments. The chapter also examines the significant Naturalistic features London stresses and describe how each text depicts crucial distinctions among amorality, immorality, and morality. In addition to these harsher Darwinian themes, this section examines London’s depiction of altruism.

Keywords:   Altruism, Christopher Boehm, Survival, Existentialism, Frans de Waal, Primitivism, Evolution

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