The Theme of Man Versus Nature in London's the Call of the Wild

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The Call of the Wild is about an older man who decides to travel alone after not listening to an old-timer’s advice. Saying this, the man travels in dangerous and freezing temperatures in the Yukon territory. The man also has a dog who is a husky and was hesitant about traveling in cold temperatures. Throughout his journey, he has many obstacles that he is faced with but does not overcome them. The man falls into the ice and knows he must warm his feet again or else he will freeze to death. In an attempt to build a fire, everything starts to go wrong and nature plays a huge role in it. The man dies due to nature and his pride. Then, the dog is left alone and heads to the camp for shelter. According to Story Board, in a Man vs. Nature theme they state that “Characters often face elements of Nature that are beyond their control” (Character vs. Nature). In the same way the man is facing weather he cannot control or stop. For these reasons, the major themes of pride and Man vs. Nature are recognized throughout the story. The setting, imagery, and symbolism used in the story support these two themes.

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It is important to realize how the setting in the story supports the theme of Man vs. Nature. The setting takes place in the Yukon Territory in northwestern Canada. It is known to be a snowy world where the temperatures will drop below zero. Saying this, their nature and weather can be harsh and brutal. The cold wind and freezing temperatures are described, as well as repeated over and over throughout the story. For example, the narrator states that “Fifty degrees below zero meant 80 degrees of frost” (London 65) and they continue to describe what fifty degrees below would be like. To also understand how the Yukon territory was like, the narrator describes the sky with no sun or clouds. In addition to that, there was “indescribable darkness of things” and many feet of snow that was completely white (London 64). Through these examples, one can feel the cold air and see how dangerous it could be traveling the Yukon trail under these circumstances. However, this all had no effect on the man at all and he decided to continue his journey. Throughout his journey, his face, nose, and hands were completely numb showing the effects. The man also fell into the water and in order to not freeze to death, he had to make a fire. After he built the fire the tree had snow on top and it fell right on his fire, putting it out. It shows how nature was always one step ahead and how harsh it was. Saying this, the setting was dangerous and was always working against him. Showing how he struggles to overcome the difficulties nature brought in his way. It was his first and last winter due to his loss against the powerful nature and pride.

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