The Call of the Wild
The Call of the Wild is a novel by American writer Jack London. The plot concerns a previously domesticated and even somewhat pampered dog named Buck, whose primordial instincts return after a series of events finds him serving as a sled dog in the treacherous, frigid Yukon during the days of the 19th century Klondike Gold Rushes. Published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is one of London's most-read books, and it is generally considered one of his best. Because the protagonist is a dog, it is sometimes classified as a juvenile novel, suitable for children, but it is dark in tone and contains numerous scenes of cruelty and violence. London followed the book in 1906 with White Fang, a companion novel with many similar plot elements and themes as The Call of the Wild, although following a mirror image plot in which a wild wolf becomes civilized by a mining expert from San Francisco named Weedon Scott. (From feedbooks.com)
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Chapter 1 - Into the Primitive
Before you start reading, it may be helpful to know a few details about the setting of "The Call of the Wild." The book, which was written in 1903, takes place in California and up through Canada towards Alaska during a period called the Gold Rush. As you read, pay attention to the way the setting impacts the characters and plot of the story.
Based on context clues, as well as what you know about history, what do you think this "yellow metal" is?
Based on the descriptions at the beginning of the chapter, which of the following do you know about Buck?
The Klondike is a region of the Yukon Territory in Northwest Canada, just east of the Alaskan border, and the Klondike strike references the discovery (or strike) of gold in that area.
What happened to Buck in this scene?
This line tells us that Buck has a natural tendency to be joyful, but that his situation has caused him to be cranky and mean.
"Pent passion" exemplifies which of the following literary devices?
A revelation is when an enlightening truth is revealed. In your own words, please explain what the line "That club was a revelation" means.
The price of dogs went up because the demand for them increased, and the demand for them increased because men are going out into the wilderness in search of gold, and they need dogs to help them do it.
The highlighted text tells us something: because it has decks, we can infer that the Narwhal is a ship. We can also infer that Buck and the other dogs are being taken north, to somewhere cold, because Buck mentioned that he saw the last of the "warm Southland."
This line contains
Chapter 1 Quiz
Jack London uses a simile ("it bit like fire") here to describe how the snow felt on Buck's tongue. It's ironic that the snow "bit like fire" because snow is cold, and fire is hot.
Chapter 2 - The Law of Club and Fang
This chapter is called "The Law of Club and Fang." What do you think this chapter will include, based on its title?
Things that are primordial are basic, like survival. They are things that have existed and persisted from the beginning -- the beginning of time, or the beginning of life.
Here is an image of dogs wearing harnesses: (This annotation contains an image)
In this line, the words "nipped" and "bit" tell us that Jack London is using _______________ to describe the wind.
How do the dogs sleep, in order to avoid the cold?
In your own words, please explain what is meant by "Buck found it to be cheaper to mend his ways than to retaliate."
Please explain why Buck is always hungry while the other dogs seem fine with the food they are given.
"Hard as iron" is a simile comparing Buck's muscles to iron, expressing that Buck is growing strong.
Over the course of a book, some characters change, and some stay the same. Watch this short video to learn about static and dynamic characters. (This annotation contains a video)
"The domesticated generations fell from him" means that Buck is finding himself less like the tame dogs that live in houses and more like the untamed dogs in the wild.
Chapter 2 Quiz
How did Buck change over the course of this chapter?
Chapter 3 - The Dominant Primordial Beast
The concept of the "primordial" and Buck's growing awareness of his survival instincts are becoming themes in the book. A theme is the subject of a piece of writing.
In your own words, please explain what this detail tells us about the huskies.
Which of the following is NOT an injury the team of dogs suffered?
This phrase contains alliteration, which is the repetition of the first letter sound over various words. Notice how the "d" sound is repeated here.
Why do Buck's feet hurt so much worse than the other dogs' feet?
This line gestures towards a theme of the book (as well as its title): the call of the wild. It is in Buck's nature to want be a leader, and it's also in Spitz's nature, which explains the issue of their rivalry. You can learn more about identifying the theme of a book by watching this short video: (This annotation contains a video)
This line touches upon the _________________ of the book.
The aurora borealis is an atmospheric affect sometimes seen in the sky in the north. It is caused by charged particles from the sun coming near Earth. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is chasing the rabbit so enlivening for Buck?
What literary device does this line contain?
Chapter 3 Quiz
Chapter 4 - Who Has Won to Mastership
Like most novelists, Jack London uses similes and metaphors to express ideas. This video describes the differences between these two literary devices. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of these statements accurately expresses the way Francois and Perrault feel about what happened to Spitz?
In your own words, please describe how Sol-leks feels about replacing Spitz?
In addition to the common definition you know, "lick" also a means "to beat." This phrase is used to show that Buck is being hard on the other dogs to get them to perform.
This line contains
What material is Buck responsible for delivering in his job?
In your own words, please explain why Dave refuses to rest, even though he is clearly ill and is having a hard time performing his duties.
Chapter 4 Quiz
Chapter 5 - The Toil of Trace and Trail
Which of the following literary devices does the title of this chapter exemplify?
This video explains foreshadowing, a literary device commonly used by writers. (This annotation contains a video)
Loafing means to pass time leisurely, or to relax.
To be bought "for a song" means to be bought cheaply.
"Weak as water" contains both alliteration and ______________.
Mercedes is clearly very _________________.
How is being led by these two men and the woman different from Buck's last experience hauling a group across this territory?
According to the highlighted text, what did Charles and Hal argue over?
To learn more about chivalry and its significance in the story, watch the following video: (This annotation contains a video)
Please explain how the man in the red sweater proved that Buck's heart was unbreakable.
This is a great example of imagery. To learn more, watch this video: (This annotation contains a video)
Up in the Yukon territory, for half of the year it stays light most of the day, and for half of the year it is dark for most of the day. This is due to the position of the sun relative to the earth in this northern area of the planet.
What literary device is exemplified in this line?
Chapter 5 Quiz
Chapter 6 - For the Love of a Man
This is an Irish setter. (This annotation contains an image)
Please describe the difference between John Thornton and Buck's other masters.
According to the text, between what two desires does Buck sway?
Tension has been a building up over the course of the past two paragraphs, and there has been a little bit of foreshadowing. Based on context clues, what do you think is going to happen now? How do you know?
Jack London uses the previous two examples of Buck saving John's life to support a particular idea. Which of the following is the MAIN idea that Buck's acts of courage support?
In the highlighted text, the phrases "bruised and battered," "Buck's body," and "been brought" exemplify
Why do you think Thornton agreed to this bet? For money? For honor? For Buck? Please explain your answer.
As we learned earlier, what does it mean when Buck bites Thornton's hand?
Chapter 6 Quiz
Chapter 7 - The Sounding of the Call
Conflict is an essential part of literature, and this video will tell you more about the two different kinds of conflict: internal and external. (This annotation contains a video)
The Stewart River is a real place. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following words describes John Thornton's approach to travel in the wild?
In this sentence, Jack London uses ________________ to compare gold to butter.
This moment signifies a flashback. A flashback is when the scene shifts back in time to a previous moment in the book or in a character's life, as this video explains. (This annotation contains a video)
The visions of the hairy man and the call of the wild are closely related, according to this text ("akin" means "related to"). Keep this in mind as you finish the book; this is a hint about one of the SYMBOLS in the book.
Something is calling to Buck. What is it?
This is a young adult timber wolf. (This annotation contains an image)
Buck's internal conflict is showcased in this section of the book. Which of the following accurately describes Buck's internal conflict?
Watch the video below and think about how London uses metaphors in his writing. (This annotation contains a video)
In your own words, please explain why Buck prefers hunting animals in the wild to getting food the "domesticated" way, from John Thornton.
What was the first thing Buck had to do to get himself in a position to kill the moose?
"Feathered with arrows like a porcupine" is a simile that compares
The Yeehats are a fictional Native American tribe created by Jack London.
In this simile, the Yeehats are being compared to
This moment marks a major change in Buck's life. What change occurs here?
In this sentence, "motionless as a statue" is a
Chapter 7 Quiz
At the end of the book, Buck is turned into a mythological figure.