The Call of the Wild

- By Jack London
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John Griffith London (born John Griffith Chaney;[1] January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916)[2][3][4][5] was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. A pioneer of commercial fiction and American magazines, he was one of the first American authors to become an international celebrity and earn a large fortune from writing.[citation needed] He was also an innovator in the genre that would later become known as science fiction.[6] London was part of the radical literary group "The Crowd" in San Francisco and a passionate advocate of unionization, workers' rights, socialism, and eugenics.[7][8] He wrote several works dealing with these topics, such as his dystopian novel The Iron Heel, his non-fiction exposé The People of the Abyss, War of the Classes, and Before Adam.

The Call of the Wild

1. The wolf pack had, at last, crossed over from the land of streams and timber and invaded Buck’s valley. Into the clearing where the moonlight streamed, they poured in a silvery flood, and in the center of the clearing stood Buck, motionless as a statue. They were awed because he stood so still and large. After a moment’s pause the boldest one leaped straight for him. Like a flash, Buck struck, breaking the neck; then, he stood still as before, the injured wolf rolling in agony behind him. Three others tried it after him; one after the other, they drew back, streaming blood from slashed throats or shoulders.
2. This was enough to bring the whole pack forward, crowded together, confused by its eagerness to pull down the prey. Buck’s marvelous quickness and agility stood him in good stead. Pivoting on his hind legs, and snapping and gashing, he was everywhere at once, presenting a front which was apparently unbroken so swiftly did he whirl and guard from side to side. But to prevent them from getting behind him, he was forced back, down past the pool and into the creek bed, till he brought up against a high gravel bank. He worked along to a right angle in the bank, which the men had made in the course of mining, and in this angle, he came to bay, protected on three sides and with nothing to do but face the front.
3. And so well did he face it, that at the end of half an hour the wolves drew back. The tongues of all were out and lolling, the white fangs showing cruelly white in the moonlight. Some were lying down with heads raised and ears pricked forward. Others stood on their feet, watching him. Still, others were lapping water from the pool. One wolf, long and lean and gray, advanced cautiously. Buck recognized the wild brother with whom he had run for a night and a day. He was whining softly, and, as Buck whined, they touched noses.
4. Then an old wolf, gaunt and battle-scarred, came forward. Buck moved his lips as if to snarl, but sniffed noses with him. Whereupon, the old wolf sat down, pointed nose at the moon, and broke out the long wolf howl. The others sat down and howled. And now the call came to Buck in unmistakable accents. He, too, sat down and howled. This over, he came out of his angle, and the pack crowded around him, sniffing in half-friendly, half-savage manner. The leaders lifted the yelp of the pack and sprang away into the woods. The wolves swung in behind, yelping in chorus. And Buck ran with them, side by side with the wild brother, yelping as he ran.
5. And here may well end the story of Buck. In a few years, the Yeehats1 noted a change in the breed of timber wolves. Some were seen with splashes of brown on head and muzzle, and with a rift of white centering down the chest. But more remarkable than this, the Yeehats tell of a Ghost Dog that runs at the head of the pack. They are afraid of this Ghost Dog, for it has cunning greater than they. It steals from their camps in fierce winters, robs their traps, slays their dogs, and defies their bravest hunters. 
1 Yeehats: a fictional Indian tribe

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Word Lists:

Yelp : a short, sharp cry, especially of pain or alarm

Buck : the male of some horned animals, especially the fallow deer, roe deer, reindeer, and antelopes.

Fictional : relating to fiction; invented for the purposes of fiction

Fang : a large sharp tooth, especially a canine tooth of a dog or wolf

Loll : sit, lie, or stand in a lazy, relaxed way

Whine : a long, high-pitched complaining cry

Gash : a long deep slash, cut, or wound

Rift : a crack, split, or break in something

Sniff : draw in air audibly through the nose to detect a smell, to stop it from running, or to express contempt

Agility : ability to move quickly and easily


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Rating: A

Words: 575

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