Symbolism in The Call of the Wild毕业论文_英语毕业论文

Symbolism in The Call of the Wild毕业论文


摘 要




1. Introduction 1

2. Demonstration 2

2.1 The themes of the story 2

2.1.1 The survival of the fittest 2

2.1.2 The realistic nature of capitalism 3

2.1.3 The embodiment of the humanitarian spirit 3

2.2 The theme reflected by the use of different symbols 4

2.2.1 Symbols of the principle of “the survival of the fittest” 4 Buck— the symbol of the stronger 4 Red—the symbol of barharousness and ferociousness 6

2.2.2 Symbols of the capitalist rule and oppression 6 Spitz— the symbol of capitalistic dictator 6 Cudgel—the symbol of the capitalistic inequality and cruelty 7

2.2.3 Symbols of “the humanitarian spirit” 8 Relationship between Buck and John—the symbol of love 8 Buck’s return to nature— the symbol of the desire for freedom 9

3. Conclusion 10

Works Cited 11


Symbolism in The Call of the Wild

  1. Introduction

The Call of the Wild is an animal novel written by a famous American novelist named Jack London. This work is not only fascinating, but also deep in thought and superb in art. It’s seen as the greatest literary achievement of writers and American literary classic. It has been translated into 90 languages and enjoys the reputation of “the master of polar novel”(刘海霞 3). The story revolves around prevailing gold rush in the society at that time and describes the dog’s struggles in specific environment incisively and vividly. The story mainly describes the protagonist Buck’s return from civilized human society to the wolves’ primitive lives. Buck grows up in a greenhouse environment, but is stolen and trafficked into pristine wilderness as a sled dog. The harsh reality touches Buck’s instinct and consciousness of returning to nature, which is edified by human civilization for a long time. Abominable environment makes Buck exercised. These tough experiences make him growing up constantly and he then defeats Spitz, the king of dogs, to take over the first seed of sled dog team eventually. When tyrannical Haar beats Buck at the last gasp, John Thornton saves Buck, which makes the dog feel warm, so Buck decides to be fiercely loyal to his benefactor. But the benefactor’s death smashes Buck’s yearn for human society drastically, and he makes up his mind to walk to wildness and return to nature. The work is tinged with symbolism, an important element of the success of the novel. In the history of literature, symbol has always been an important tool to literary writing. Symbolism is an indispensable and common means of artistic expression. And the critic Arthur Simmons said, “Symbol is all the established performance of form to thought and tangible to intangible” (42). That is, symbol is through specific things or figures in the objective world to express a poet or a writer’s thoughts and feelings indirectly. And the symbols in The Call of the Wild are especially successful. Buck, Spitz, cudgel, red and Buck’s return to nature are the main symbolic things in the novel. As the critics Fan Wyck Brooks said, “In some sense, the story of Jack London is the reason why The Call of the Wild can be the best work” (qtd. in Dennis 56). In this work, the author is mainly expressing the following three aspects–the survival of the fittest, he realistic nature of capitalism and the embodiment of the humanitarian spirit. These elements are displayed in front of readers vividly through the effective use of symbolism.

  1. Demonstration

2.1 The themes of the story

Theme is the central thought of a work, and it is the subject and core of work’s content. The Call of the Wild is a work rich in theme, mainly expressed in terms of the survival of the fittest, the realistic nature of capitalism and the embodiment of the humanitarian spirit. These elements co-work to disclose a world of fights and challenges.

2.1.1 The survival of the fittest

From 1897 to 1898, Jack London followed gold rush to the Klondike. In the meanwhile, he finished reading Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. This novel and his evolution theory shook people’s belief in god creating man and also brought impact on the social concept. Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest became the moral standard of decadent capitalist society. His theory of evolution, especially Herbert Spencer’s social Darwinism thinking, was popular in the United States and it changed many writers’ and scholars’ outlook on society and life. This novel describes a society in which humans and animals are both cruel and evil threatens the survival of Buck constantly. This situation forces Buck to make himself stronger and try to climb to the higher social class. He must beat the former leader and become leader himself. The death of his fellow makes Buck realize life is just like this–no fairness; Once you fall, this is the end of life. After a lot of battles, Buck makes a summary of the survival law that no middle way is optional. He must gain control or be dominated. Mercy is a sign of cowardice, and it doesn’t exist in the nature. There are only two people in the world, not good people and bad people, but the strong and the weak. To Buck, he uses his power to rule the world, but if a stronger and younger wolf appears one day, Buck still cannot avoid being torn off. So by writing such a story of Buck, London hopes to disclose the theme that human is never a winner in the cruel social environment and the natural law of evolution will never be changed.

2.1.2 The realistic nature of capitalism

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