By ◆ Juppie on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 @ 6:21 PM


The Call of the Wild is a book by Jack London that features a dog called Buck. I can't remember clearly whether I've read the book or not, but I think I might have. It was mentioned in the book Nothing But the Truth by Avi.

I haven't read much of Nothing But the Truth yet. What I do know is that the main character is a boy named Philip Malloy who is not very interested in language arts, and is rather disdainful towards The Call of the Wild. Indeed, he wrote something rather interesting as an answer to a test question. Here's a part from the book.

Question four: What is the significance of Jack London's choice in making Buck, the dog in The Call of the Wild, the focus of his novel? Is the dog meant to be symbolic? Explain your answer. Can people learn from this portrayal of a dog? Expand on these ideas.

Philip's answer: The significance of Buck in Jack London's novel The Call of the Wild is that Buck is symbolic of a cat. You might think that cats have nothing to do with the book, but that is the point. Dogs are willing to sit around and have writers write about them, which, in my personal opinion, makes them dumb. I think cats are smart. Cats don't like cold. A book that takes up so much time about a dog is pretty dumb. The book itself is a dog. That is what people can learn from Jack London's novel The Call of the Wild.

Although I find his response to the question amusing, it does show that he wasn't so serious about the book, and his teacher didn't find it funny at all. If I were to become a teacher, I suppose I might end up having to deal with students like him. I wonder, how would I grade students, if I were a teacher? Would I grade them strictly by set standards, or would I give them points for making me laugh?

Well, speaking of "What if", my teacher asked us an interesting question today. Here is the scenario.

- You are stranded in the desert with a total stranger. (You have never met them, you know nothing about them.)
- You have only enough water to keep one person alive (never mind how long for).
Your choice: Do you drink the water and save yourself, give it to the stranger and save him/her, or do you share the water and BOTH of you die?

Perhaps a person's answer to this question reflects their own values and personality.

I said that I would give all the water to the stranger. I have already seen many beautiful things, for I have traveled far and wide - I was even able to see the city of Sydney, my namesake. And I have seen small but beautiful things in my own hometown. I have also gotten to make friends (even if many of them have moved away, and it is hard to keep in contact, I still have memories, and I will cherish them). I have been able to learn to play instruments and learn to read and write and learn to laugh. I have already made some of my dreams reality. I still have goals I have not achieved, but I have already had so much. And I believe it is more than some people will ever get. If I give them the chance to live, perhaps then they can go on to do those things, to have some happiness.

One of my classmates said, "Well, what if the stranger is a criminal? Then would you want to save them?" I may be flattering myself by saying this, but I think perhaps if I gave them the water, then he/she would be touched by noble sacrifice, and would want to be a better person. He/she could go on to make changes in the world. I want to be able to inspire someone. (Though dying isn't the most ideal way of doing so, it is still a way.) And I can die knowing that I saved someone's life, protected the miracle that is the beating of our hearts.

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