Comparison Between Master And Man And Call Of The Wild

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For my Comparative Literature assignment, I will be comparing Jack London’s Call of the Wild and Leo Tolstoy’s “Master and Man”. One of the central themes of Call of the Wild is nature vs. nurture, which is demonstrated through the main character Buck and his regression into an almost feral state. A central theme for “Master and Man” is human foibles, shown through Vasili’s overall character flaws and treatment of Nikita. While each story has their own central theme, they also share a common theme in the humbling power of the natural world. This is displayed in Call of the Wild through Buck’s interactions with his new surroundings and environment, and in “Master and Man” through Vasili and Nikita’s experience in the snow storm. Nature …show more content…
Both stories exhibit the humbling power of the natural world. In Call of the Wild, Buck is captured from the comfort of his know surroundings and forced to work as a sled dog in the Alaskan frontier. On his way to Alaska, Buck attempts to evade his captors by trying to attack and escape them. The man in the red sweater proceeds to beat Buck with a club until he learns the “Law of Club and Fang”. This can be seen as a humbling experience for Buck. He began with the idea and intent of attacking his captors and escaping, but after being beaten with club he learned his place: “He saw, once for all, that he stood no chance against a man with a club. He had learned the lesson, and in all his afterlife he never forgot it. That club was a revelation. It was his introduction to the reign of primitive law, and he met the introduction halfway” (London, Ch. 1). In “Master and Man”, the display of the humbling power of the natural world is more obvious. In the final moments of his life, as he is shielding Nikita to keep him warm, Vasili realizes the error of his ways. He has an epiphany and sees Nikita no longer as a peasant, but as another human being: “He remembered that Nikita was lying under him and that he had got warm and was alive, and it seemed to him that he was Nikita and Nikita was he, and that his life was not in himself but in Nikita. He strained his ears and heard Nikita breathing and even slightly snoring. ‘Nikita is alive, so I too am alive!’ he said to himself triumphantly” (Tolstoy, Ch. 9). After spending the majority of the story being greedy and selfish, Vasili has a moment of clarity where material things no longer

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