The relationship between Buck and John Thornton is one of the most famous in American literature. What word best describes the relationship between buck and john thornton? The relationship between the two is complex. Thornton’s benevolence and generosity with Buck, but it is tempered by his intolerance of what he sees as Buck’s immoral behavior, such as lying and stealing. Buck comes to see Thornton as a father figure and tries to live up to his expectations. The ultimate test of this relationship takes place when Thornton is injured by wolves hunting in the farm, who were attracted there by Buck’s urinating on a tree where they had killed some game earlier.
Buck risks his own life to save John Thornton from the wolves, even though that means abandoning him again to rescue his friend Pete from Indians while there was still time for them both. As he talks with his dying master, Buck sees that he is a “part of the wild.” The relationship between Buck and Thornton is a complicated one. Buck desires to live up to the standard that Thornton set for him, and John Thornton wants to help Buck succeed in this. However, there are also times when John expects too much from Buck, and therefore creates resentment. An example of this is when John catches Buck lying about killing one of his steers. This makes Buck feel as if John does not really understand him or know what makes him tick.
1. The Relationship Between Buck and John Thornton is a Complicated One
One of the most notable relationships in the novel is that between Buck and John Thornton. This relationship is complex, though Thornton does have an immense affinity for Buck. For example, as soon as Buck arrives at the farm with Curly, he recognizes that Buck “was a thoroughbred. He had that indefinable air of breeding about him.” After watching him work under punishing conditions, he realized the “reward in work was not to be sneezed at,” yet he also saw that “a kind word or a caress would put a gleam into his eye that only came with satisfaction” .
Buck is almost an extension of John Thornton’s persona. While at the same time, Buck is a representation of the frontier as a whole. He is an elemental force that knows only how to survive no matter what the cost may be, but he can also be tamed by a farmer who wants to civilize him. This is proven by the fact that Buck begins to develop the “homesickness” of other domesticated animals after his reunion with Curly and his return home.
2. Buck is “Part of the Wild”
The bond between Buck and Thornton is strong from the start. It is said that Buck “immediately fell in love with his master,” but after he returned home and separated from Thornton, he did not feel the same attachment to Curly. This is because Curly represents civilization to him, whereas John Thornton represents everything that the wild stands for: independence and freedom. When John finds a way to harness this wild spirit, however, he shows how much he can help Buck become a better dog by providing him with opportunities to hunt.
3. Buck is the Ultimate Tameable Wild Animal
John Thornton is the embodiment of Buck. They are two sides of the same coin, one representing humanity and its advanced technological capabilities, and the other representing the raw power of nature. At first, it seems that Thornton is a victim of this force, for he is brutally mauled by wolves in front of Buck’s eyes. However, John does not dwell on his suffering as much as he might have had he not been forced to reflect on his own mortality.
When he comes to terms with his own death, John sees no reason not to let Buck go free rather than taking him home. Here, John gives Buck the ultimate opportunity to show what a wild animal he really is. Buck returns to Thornton’s camp and finds his murderer, then he goes back to the farm and rescues Pete. This shows that Buck does indeed have a moral compass, however primitive it may be.
4. The Relationship Between Buck and John Thornton is Symbolic
The relationship between Buck and John Thornton is essentially symbolic. It represents the relationship between civilization and nature, one both precious and destructive. This is shown in the way that civilization attempts to take over the wilderness. After John reminds his crew that they are in “God’s country,” he goes on to say that “man can’t improve on what God has made.”
This seems a contradiction to us, for we see man as a representation of progress. On the other hand, we see Buck as an embodiment of the wild spirit who has not been tamed by the advantages of modern society, though he too still harbors a sense of morality inside him.