This chapter introduces London's second, or parallel, theme of the novel. As a matter of historical and scientific information, the late nineteenth century had seen the emergence of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, a theory which had become, by the time of London's novel, one of the most controversial scientific theories ever advocated. In a nutshell, the essence of Darwin's theory concerns the evolution of mankind — that is, was Man born as he is today? Or is he the end result of a series of evolutions from a more primitive species of life? In other words, in a more popular conception, is Man descended from apelike creatures? This theory, then, is further emphasized by London's use of the "survival of the fittest" (which also carries the opposite connotation of the elimination of the weakest). This chapter introduces Buck into the concepts of the survival of the
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