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The Call of the Wild Quotes

25 of the best book quotes from The Call of the Wild
  1. #1
    “He must master or be mastered; while to show mercy was a weakness. Mercy did not exist in the primordial life. It was misunderstood for fear, and such misunderstandings made for death. Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, was the law; and this mandate, down out of the depths of Time, he obeyed.”
  2. #2
    “It was heartbreaking, only Buck’s heart was unbreakable.”
  3. #3
    “They were not half living, or quarter living. They were simply so many bags of bones in which sparks of life flutter faintly.”
  4. #4
    “There is a patience of the wild—dogged, tireless, persistent as life itself—that holds motionless for endless hours the spider in its web, the snake in its coils, the panther in its ambuscade; this patience belongs peculiarly to life when it hunts its living food.”
  5. #5
    “The Yukon was straining to break loose the ice that bound it down.”
  6. #6
    “Thornton knelt down by Buck’s side. He took his head in his two hands and rested cheek on cheek. He did not playfully shake him, as was his wont, or murmur soft love curses; but he whispered in his ear. ‘As you love me, Buck.‘”
  7. #7
    “Here was neither peace, nor rest, nor a moment’s safety. All was confusion and action, and every moment life and limb were in peril.”
  8. #8
    “There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.”

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  1. #9
    “Love, genuine passionate love, was his for the first time.”
  2. #10
    “Buck’s first day . . . was like a nightmare. Every hour was filled with shock and suprirse. He had been suddenly jerked from the heart of civilization and flung into the heart of things primordial.”
  3. #11
    “The ghostly winter silence had given way to the great spring murmur of awakening life. This murmur arose from all the land, fraught with the joy of living.”
  4. #12
    “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.”
  5. #13
    “He did not steal for the joy of it, but because of the clamor of his stomach.”
  6. #14
    “But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called—called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.”
  7. #15
    “Deep in the forest a call was sounding, and as often as he heard this call, mysteriously thrilling and luring, he felt compelled to turn his back upon the fire and the beaten earth around it, and to plunge into the forest, and on and on, he knew not where or why; nor did he wonder where or why, the call sounding imperiously, deep in the forest. But as often as he gained the soft unbroken earth and the green shade, the love for John Thornton drew him back to the fire again.”
  8. #16
    “Buck multiplied himself, attacking from all sides . . . wearing out the patience of creatures preyed upon, which is a lesser patience than that of creatures preying.”
  1. #17
    “Not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again.”
  2. #18
    “There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad in a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that fled swiftly before him through the moonlight.”
  3. #19
    “He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survived.”
  4. #20
    “A man with a club was a lawgiver, a master to be obeyed, though not necessarily conciliated.”
  5. #21
    “That was the way. No fair play. Once down, that was the end of you.”
  6. #22
    “In their very great misery they had become insensible to the bite of the lash or the bruise of the club.”
  7. #23
    “In short, the things he did were done because it was easier to do them than not to do them.”
  8. #24
    “He became possessed of a great pride in himself, which communicated itself like a contagion to his physical being. It advertised itself in all his movements, was apparent in the play of every muscle, spoke plainly as speech in the way he carried himself.”
  9. #25
    “When a halt was made, they dropped down in the traces like dead dogs, and the spark dimmed and paled and seemed to go out.”

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