Naturalism in Call of the Essay

Download this Essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Essay:

" (Honestly, what more needs to be said?)

Now that it has been established that both Call of the Wild and "A New England Nun" have elements of both realism and local order, it's time to present them in terms of their most powerful literary attribute, categorically speaking (of the three aforementioned literary categories): naturalism. As mentioned, naturalism in literature is the notion that social conditions, heredity, and environment unalterably impact and shape human character. Both Buck and Louisa are limited and forged by the social conditions that surround them, their heredity and environment.

Buck's transformation from a semi-slothful house pet to a high-octane sled dog is prompted not by his own free-will - Buck never really decides to become the leader of the pack - but by his subjugation. When Buck is taken in by his new owners and they force him to pull a sled, he has very little recourse. In fact, it comes down to a simple choice for him: Adapt or Die. Instinctively Buck chooses the former and what results is an atavistic regression toward primordial behaviors that help him to survive and ultimately succeed in his new environment.

London describes this process of losing one's domesticity beautifully in the novel. It reads,

"This first theft marked Buck as fit to survive in the hostile Northland environment. It marked his adaptability, his capacity to adjust himself to changing conditions, the lack of which would have meant swift and terrible death. It marked, further, the decay or going to pieces of his moral nature, a vain thing and a handicap in the ruthless struggle for existence (59).

The shackles of decency have been shed. And a new modus-operandi has been adopted, one that favors theft over charity, fear over love, cunning over caring, etc. all so that Buck may survive under the brutal law of club and fang. It is often said that adversity reveals character, but perhaps our philosophers had it wrong, perhaps its better said: adversity forms character.

With respect to sweet, orderly Louisa, she too has been forged from her environment. Like Buck, she doesn't act on her own accord; she reacts. However, her environment and the social customs that influence her are quite different from Buck's. That is, Buck was thrown into a hostile snow-covered wasteland where survival was all that mattered. Life is lived on a bladed edge, one slip and one is dead. Louisa, on the other hand, lives in a world filled with ennui and inactivity. Her days are spent stemming and sewing and cleaning - and, perhaps most importantly, waiting for Joe. But as the reader learns, Louisa has become adjusted to the solitary life. She's been alone for so long, waiting, that when she finds out about Joe's affair she feels a mixture of disappointment and relief. But soon the disappointment fades and she looks forward to the remainder of her solitary life. As the story goes:

She gazed ahead through a long reach of future days strung together like pearls in a rosary, every one like the others, and all smooth and flawless and innocent, and her heart went up in thankfulness. Outside was the fervid sunnier afternoon; the air was filled with the sounds of the busy harvest of men and birds and bees; there were halloos, metallic clattering, sweet calls, and long hummings. Louisa sat, prayerfully numbering her days, like an uncloistered nun.

Louisa is a spinster. Her uneventful life has led her to crave an uneventful future. Like her dog Caesar she's been chained to a way of living that has narrowed her expectations and enervated her ambition. She's an uncloistered nun, one who has experienced enough of the world to want give her life over to something else, to submit to the ways of the world, come what may.

In looking at these two works of fiction it is evident that they both contain elements of local color and realism. However, what makes them enduring as works of art and endearing to the reader (at least this humble reader) is the way in which they express the plight of man; as a rudderless ship in a stormy sea of inescapable forces. Where one ends up is not a matter of self-determination, but of hereditary, social, and environmental forces. Resistance is futile.

Works Cited

London, Jack. Call of the Wild. Norwood Mass: Norwood Press, 1903. Print.

Wilkins, Mary. A New England Nun. New York: Harper and Brothers,…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

"Naturalism In Call Of The" (2011, October 14) Retrieved December 4, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/naturalism-in-call-of-the-46396

"Naturalism In Call Of The" 14 October 2011. Web.4 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/naturalism-in-call-of-the-46396>

"Naturalism In Call Of The", 14 October 2011, Accessed.4 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/naturalism-in-call-of-the-46396

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Naturalism Most Marxian s in Addition

    You may be more hospitable to a Christian-Marxian possibility. The reason that this is the way that things stand in Marxian discussions of such issues, and that there is little argument for naturalism in Marxianism, is that Marxians, like George Santayana, who, politically speaking, was very conservative, just take it as obvious that physicalism and atheism are true (Nielsen, 1971). I think this is so too, but I realize that

  • Naturalism in Kate Chopin s The

    " shall come back as soon as I can; I shall find you here." One more time, she gives into her biological role. During Adele's labor pains, Edna recalls her own childbirth, an event that offered very different kinds of memories of an awakening than she has now. "Edna began to feel uneasy. She was seized with a vague dread. Her own like experiences seemed far away, unreal, and only half

  • Naturalism and Idealism

    Idealism refers to the people who claim to be idealists in the popular sense are often convinced that the world is beautiful, everybody is good and you can adopt high ideas and adhere to them. It is also a theory that asserts that reality is ideas, though, mind or selves rather than material forces. There may be a single or absolute Mind or a plurality of minds. It also stresses

  • Naturalism in Maggie A Girl

    Her means of survival becomes how she responds to the violence and abuse she encounters on a daily basis. Maggie's choices are made as the result of something that happens to her. She never makes a decision without being forced to make it either by some act of violence or other negative experience. While she attempts to turn her life around with Pete, we see that she can only get

  • John Rawls Mencious and Naturalism

    John Rawls / Mencius John Rawls's A Theory of Justice is concerned with distributive rather than retributive justice: there is precious little discussion of crime and punishment in Rawls's magnum opus, but plenty of discussion about equality and fairness. Rawls seems to be embarked on a Kantian ethical project of establishing universal principles, but his chief concern is to establish his principles without requiring, as Kant does, an appeal to God

  • Grape Depression John Steinbeck s Naturalism and Direct

    Grape Depression John Steinbeck's Naturalism and Direct Historical Representation: The Great Depression and the Grapes of Wrath Literature cannot help but be reflective of the period in which it is written. Even novels that are set somewhere outside the time and place that author occupies will necessarily include some degree of commentary on the issues, beliefs, and values of the author's own world. This is, in part, what makes an understanding of

  • Christian Response to Philosophical Naturalism

    Since neither of those explanations is likely (let alone knowable), philosophical naturalists would have to doubt that the universe exists at all; yet, very clearly, it does. The most likely explanation for the existence of the universe is simply that some force or consciousness (i.e. God) caused whatever the so-called "first cause" of existence was. The second major philosophical assumption of philosophical naturalism presupposes that all philosophical postulates must, necessarily,


Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved