Illustration of Buck in the snow with mountains in the background

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

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1. London's book White Fang tells the story of a wild dog who becomes tamed. Compare White Fang to The Call of the Wild. Which book do you prefer? Why?

2. Write a report on the Klondike gold rush of 1897. Explain how this gold rush differed from the California gold rush of 1849.

3. Robert Service was a very popular poet who wrote ballads about the Yukon at the same time Jack London was writing essays and fiction. Read some of Service's poems, and compare the attitudes of the two writers toward the arctic wilderness.

4. For centuries, Eskimos in Alaska and the Yukon have learned to adapt to their environment. How has their environment and their way of life been threatened by modern civilization? Consult magazines and newspapers for current articles.

5. William Golding's novel The Lord of the Flies (1954) is another story about retrogression in a wild environment. Read Golding's novel. Do you find it more pessimistic than The Call of the Wild, or more optimistic? Why?

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