Illustration of Buck in the snow with mountains in the background

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

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Research the philosophies of the "superman" and the "survival of the fittest" as espoused by Friedrich Nietzsche and Herbert Spencer, two thinkers who influenced London. Compare them to London's philosophies found in The Call of the Wild.

Read Ralph Waldo Emerson's seminal essay "Self-Reliance" (1841). Write an essay considering whether or not you think it was possible for Buck to be a "self-reliant" individual at the end of the nineteenth century.

For decades The Call of the Wild has been considered by many to be a children's book. Do you think it is an appropriate book for children, and why? Who do you think the intended or most appropriate audience for this book is—children, teens, adult readers, or literary scholars?

Research changing views of nature and the American wilderness in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, studying such figures as Henry David Thoreau, Theodore Roosevelt, and John Muir. Write an essay in which you discuss London's place within these debates/traditions.

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