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Discussion Guide

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Why does the author have Buck narrate the story?

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

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

4. What qualities does Buck have that make him superior to the other dogs?  What qualities make him an effective leader?
Compare his innate abilities (his breed and instincts) versus his learned behaviors (he was a pet who learned how to be a dominant Yukon dog).

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

6. Buck begins to dream of a ragged, hairy man crouching before a fire.  Where do these dreams come from? What do they mean?

7.  Trace the stages in Buck's retrogression, noting the chief factors responsible for his change.

8. How does Buck's attitude toward human beings progressively change throughout the book?

9.Describe Thornton's relationship with all of the dogs, compared to Buck in particular.

10. Discuss Jack  London's use anthropomorphism (giving human qualities to animals).  Discuss the dog and human thoughts and behaviors.

11.  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?

Web banner for One Book, One Burg: Louisburg Reads 2023. It includes an image with the bookcover and title of the selected book, The Call of the Wild by Jack London.Book cover of The Call of the Wild by Jack London.  It links to the library's online catalog.