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Questions

The Call of the Wild Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Buck is certainly content in his house in the "sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley" at the outset of the story before he undergoes enormous change. Does he betray himself, or return to his true nature?
  2. Is Buck’s relationship with Thornton based on love, or loyalty? Is there a difference? How is this different than what Buck might have had with his old master, Judge Miller, in the beginning of the story?
  3. At times, Buck gives in to orders to save himself beatings or other misfortune. Yet at other times he steps up and fights, such as when he wants to take the place of Spitz as lead dog. How does Buck balance submission with dominance, and is there an overall trend towards one from the other as the novella progresses?
  4. London sets the story at the time of the Alaskan (Klondike) Gold Rush. How does this relate to Buck, his desires and journey?
  5. This is a story about a dog, but what relevant questions might it raise about humans? What insight can Buck’s journeys and struggles provide?
  6. It is interesting that Thornton has to die before Buck can join the wild. Does this suggest that primitivity is incompatible with love? Does Buck have to choose certain characteristics over others?

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