Many American students read Jack London’s novel The Call of the Wild in school, but how does it end? It’s an old book, so it may be hard to remember. Let’s take a closer look at the conclusion of this classic novel and explore what happens in the last few pages.
The novel follows Buck, a dog who is taken from his home in California and sold to be part of a sled-dog team during the Klondike Gold Rush in Alaska. Soon after arriving in Alaska, Buck is stolen by Native Americans and adopted into their tribe as a pack leader. Eventually he escapes and meets John Thornton, with whom he develops an unbreakable bond.
Throughout the story, Buck gradually realizes that his place is not with humans but with nature. He learns to rely on his wild instincts to survive and finds himself increasingly drawn to the wilderness. In the final chapters, he discovers gold in order to save John Thornton from financial ruin but ultimately refuses to keep it for himself.
In a heartbreaking conclusion, both Buck and John Thornton die side by side from exhaustion near a lake after chasing an escaping criminal into the wilderness. Afterward, Buck’s body is discovered by two Indians who bury him under a cairn of stones beside John Thornton’s grave. The novel ends with Buck having fully embraced his primal instincts and found peace within himself—and within nature—at last.