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Simona Predanič, 2015, undergraduate thesis

Abstract: The subject of this graduation thesis is Jack London’s unconventional novel The Call of the Wild. The work falls into the genre of animal fiction, as the protagonist is a dog which possesses human attributes. The author’s philosophy of life is highly reflected in the book, as well as the influences of the survival philosophies of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer. The impact of Herbert Spencer’s “survival of the fittest” ethic on the author and its reflection in The Call of the Wild are the main focus of this study. To achieve this goal, historical research about the author’s biography, influences on his beliefs, survival theories of Herbert Spencer and Charles Darwin and facts about social Darwinism was conducted. Findings of the historical research were then used to conduct an analysis on the text. This investigation of the text showed that the “survival of the fittest” ethic does prevail throughout the work; however, Darwin’s ideas on sympathy are also reflected in some areas of the work, showing that the protagonist survives not merely because of his superior psycho-physical features but also because of the sympathy or affection expressed by other characters towards the protagonist.
Keywords: Jack London, canine protagonist, survival of the fittest, Herbert Spencer, Charles Darwin, sympathy, social Darwinism
Published: 01.06.2015; Views: 1050; Downloads: 71
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