Ideas for Group Discussions
1. Compare Buck's life on the ranch with his life in the wild and discuss which is better for him.
2. What qualities does Buck have that make him superior to the other dogs and which make him an effective leader?
3. What is the "law of club and fang?" How does it operate? Is it effective? Just?
4. Why are Hal, Charles, and Mercedes unable to survive on the trail?
5. Buck begins to dream of a ragged, hairy man crouching before a fire. Where do these dreams come from? What do they mean?
6. Trace the stages in Buck's retrogression, noting the chief factors responsible for his change.
7. How does Buck's attitude toward human beings progressively change as a result of his experiences?
8. Explain how Buck eventually becomes part of the Yeehat legend.
9. William Golding's novel The Lord of the Flies (1954) is another story about retrogression in the wild. Compare the two for their views of humans in nature and their themes of survival.