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The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild


by Jack London

The Call of the Wild Theme of Competition

In The Call of the Wild, competition serves as further motivation to succeed. Buck is driven by his survivalist tendencies but also by such qualities as pride and competition. In his thirst to dominate the other alpha dog on the team, Buck drives himself to work harder and ultimately crafts himself into a better and stronger leader. However, competition is also a source of strife, one resulting in violence and destruction, and one that threatens the unity of the sled team.

Questions About Competition

  1. Does his competitive nature hurt or help Buck in his journeys through the frozen North? What does it enable him to do, or what does it stop him from doing?
  2. We see Buck and Spitz interacting a lot. Are they very similar? Are they different? Is it possible that they want the same things but pursue them very differently?
  3. How does Buck's victory over Spitz change who he is as a character? Or does it not change anything at all?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although they appear at first to be at odds, competition and camaraderie are intrinsically linked in the wild.

Buck's fierce competition with Spitz represents a competition within himself, a fight between the half of him that is civilized and the half that is wild.

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