Character List

Molly and Alice Miller The Judge’s daughters, whom Buck protects when they go on long walks.

Manuel A Mexican; one of the Judge’s gardener’s helpers. Because of his mounting gambling debts, Manuel steals Buck and sells him to a ring of dognappers.

The Man in the Red Sweater An unnamed person whom Buck remembers for the rest of his life because this is the person who teaches Buck the lesson that “a man with a club was a lawgiver, a master to be obeyed.”

Perrault and Francois Two Frenchmen who are Buck’s first new masters. They work for the Canadian government, delivering dispatches to outposts throughout the frozen North.

A Scotch Half-Breed Buck’s second master; he delivers mail in the North. He is a competent master, but because of the demands made on him, he has to overwork the dogs.

“Black” Burton A vicious man who attacks Thornton; he, in turn, is attacked by Buck.

An Ape-like Man A “hairy” man with a bent back; he accompanies the Scotch half-breed on the mail routes.

Charles An inept middle-aged master of Buck’s; Charles comes from the South, and he does not understand the ways of the North or how to handle dogs.

Mercedes Charles’s wife; she attempts to live in the North as if she were on an “extended social camping trip.”

Hal Mercedes’s brother; he carries a whip, a gun, and a knife, and he is cruel to Buck.

John Thornton The man who rescues Buck from Charles, Hal, and Mercedes; he is the man to whom Buck becomes immensely devoted.

Hans and Pete John Thornton’s partners; they accompany him on his expedition for the lost gold mine.

Matthewson The man who bets Thornton that Buck cannot pull a thousand-pound loaded sled.

Jim O’Brien John Thornton’s friend; he lends Thornton a thousand dollars to make the wager with Matthewson.

The Yeehats A fierce tribe of Indians who murder John Thornton and his partners, Hans and Pete.


The following animals play an important role in this novel and have characteristics very similar to those of human beings (called anthropomorphism):

Buck This dog is the “main character” of the novel. Buck’s father was a huge Saint Bernard, and Buck’s mother was a huge Scotch shepherd dog. The central concern of The Call of the Wild is Buck’s transformation from a civilized dog of the South to an animal capable of coping with the most adverse conditions in the Far North. Buck is used to illustrate London’s idea of the “survival of the fittest” and the retreat to the potential primitive or primordial beast that lies within each animal or individual. This is also a magnification of the philosophy of naturalism, a philosophy which London was often concerned with in his writings.

Curly Buck’s friend and companion on the arduous boat trip to the North. Curly is described as a “good-natured Newfoundland.” Curly does not survive long, however, and Buck learns a painful lesson when he sees how easily Curly is killed while trying to be friendly with another dog.

Spitz The dog that kills Curly; not unexpectedly, Spitz becomes Buck’s most bitter enemy. Later, Spitz is killed by Buck in a dog fight which is central to the novel. Buck’s victory entitles him to take over the commanding power position that once belonged to Spitz. Buck’s fight-to-the-death with Spitz illustrates Buck’s ability to survive among even the most primitive elements.

Dave, Billee, Joe, Sol-leks, Dolly, Pike, and Dub Other dogs that serve on the dogsled team with Buck.

Skeet and Nig Two of John Thornton’s dogs that he owned before he adopts Buck.