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Historical Context

The Klondike is a region in the Yukon Territory in the Northwest of Canada near the Alaskan border. Rich placer-gold deposits were discovered in Rabbit (now Bonanza) Creek, a tributary of the Klondike in 1896. When news of the find reached the US in July of 1897, thousands rushed to the virtually uninhabited region by any means possible. This explosion swelled the local population to around 25,000. With the increase in humans came an increased demand for transportation, mostly in the form of strong, sturdy dogs. With the help of these animals, gold was extensively mined in the Yukon for 10 years.

Jack London was born in 1876 and died in 1916 at the age of forty. He was born an illegitimate child in poverty, and worked obsessively to rise above his situation. London spent his early years as a boy criminal in San Francisco, and traveled throughout the US and Canada as a tramp on the railroads. When he was nineteen, he enrolled in the University of California, but left well before graduation to search for gold in Alaska. Though he never struck gold, London returned from the journey and declared, "It was in the Klondike that I found myself." Indeed, it was this search for gold during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98 that inspired London's mythical wolf, the hero of The Call of the Wild.

When London died at the age of forty, he left behind a great literary legacy of stories. His second novel, The Call of the Wild, however, is considered one of his best. When it was published in 1903, London was faced with a series of debts, so he completed the work in a mere five weeks, and agreed to sell all rights to it for only $200. The book was heavily promoted, and sold out immediately. Though he gained little financially from the work, the impact it had on his reputation continues to be felt today.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter One - Part One
Chapter One - Part Two
Chapter Two - Part One
Chapter Two - Part Two
Chapter Three - Part One
Chapter Three - Part Two
Chapter Four - Part One
Chapter Four - Part Two
Chapter Five - Part One
Chapter Five - Part Two
Chapter Five - Part Three
Chapter Five - Part Four
Chapter Six - Part One
Chapter Six - Part Two
Chapter Six - Part Three
Chapter Six - Part Four
Chapter Seven - Part One
Chapter Seven - Part Two
Chapter Seven - Part Three
Chapter Seven - Part Four


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