Call of the Wild

Call of the Wild by Jack London – Study Guide Questions

Mercedes, the only female character in The Call of the Wild, is weak, unlikable and selfish. Is London

necessarily suggesting that women had no place in the Klondike, or is Mercedes gender irrelevant to her

flaws? (One paragraph)

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

Mercedes is a problematic figure. The "privilege of her sex" is sarcastically noted several times. She insists on all things unreasonable: having a tent, riding the sled. She does not listen to reason, evidenced by the fact that when she is removed from the sled, she sits in the snow and cries like a child until she gets her way. Her sympathy for the dogs demonstrates her total lack of understanding. She doesn't want Hal to whip the dogs, but she doesn't care that they must suffer in order to pull her luxuries. London's criticism may seem chauvinistic; however, one can see Mercedes beliefs about the feminine as constructions of civilization. If Mercedes had been willing to recognize that this was no place for gentlemanly behavior, she would certainly have been as capable as her brother and husband.