Illustration of Buck in the snow with mountains in the background

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

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Topics for Discussion

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1. Compare Buck's life on the ranch with his life in the wild. Which is better for Buck? Why?

2. What qualities does Buck have that make him superior to the other dogs? What qualities make him an effective leader?

3. What is "the law of club and fang," and how does it operate?

4. Why are Hal, Charles, and Mercedes unable to survive on the trail? Explain several different causes for their failure.

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. Jack London uses such words as "primordial," "inexorable," "carnivorous," and "wraith" to describe Buck. What do these words mean, and how effectively do they characterize Buck?

8. How does Buck's attitude toward human beings progressively change as a result of his experiences?

9. Explain how Buck eventually becomes part of Yeehat legend.

10. What can you learn about the skill of dog-sledding from reading The Call of the Wild? What skills are necessary for survival on the trail?

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