This need for transcendentality is real and strong, especially in the two novels The Call of the Wild, by Jack London and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. Transcendentalism is the belief that thought and spiritual experience is more important than everyday experiences and material belongings. The main character in the call of the wild is buck, a dog forced into trancendality as he was kidnapped and handed a brutal northern life. The main character in Into the wild is Chris McCandless, a young man who chooses the call of nature over modern society, also demonstrating transcendentalism. The protagonists, Chris McCandless and Buck, exhibit their transcendentality in conflicting yet converging ways including the specific occurrences which cause this diverging from society, the positive and negative effects which happen to them as a result, and the picture that is portrayed by the finale of each tale.
The cause for trancendality in Buck’s case can be easily pinpointed. Buck started out the novel as a pampered companion on a sunny estate. However his condition was rapidly changed as he is taken and shipped north. Once in Alaska, Buck quickly realized that things worked very differently. Buck’s shock in Into the Wild can be seen when, “ He was suddenly jerked from the heart of civilization and flung into the heart of things primordial.” (London 25). This shock to Buck’s being presented a real barrier to Buck. However, he overcomes this barrier. Buck finds a solution, as Banned Book Awareness describes, “Buck reverts to his primal instincts.” (Banned Book Awareness 1). Buck adapts without even trying, his instincts kicked in. He had to learn the ways of a northern dog or succomb to those who already had.Chris McCandless, however, ma…
…tremity of his withdrawal from society, he succombed to the forces of nature and cast a negative light on the idea of transcendentalism. The protagonists exhibit their transcendentality in conflicting yet converging ways including the specific occurrences which cause this diverging from society, the positive and negative effects which happen to them as a result, and the picture that is portrayed by the finale of each tale.
“1903, The Call of the Wild.” PBS. PBS, Mar. 2007. Web. 17 Apr. 2014.
Baldassarro, R. W. “Banned Books Awareness: The Call of the Wild.” Banned Books Awareness. Deep Forest Productions, 24 July 2011. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.
“The Big Read.” The Call of the Wild. Arts Midwest, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.
Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. Print.
London, Jack, and Avi. The Call of the Wild. New York: Scholastic, 2000. Print.