The Call of the Wild: Chapter Analysis

Designed by Valarie Napawanetz, The Calverton School, Huntingtown, MD

Chapter 1: Write as a reporter might about Buck's kidnapping and mistreatment.

In-class: Fold a sheet of paper in half. On the left side, make statements about the way Buck's life was on the Judge's ranch. On the right, generalize about the way his life was once he was kidnapped by the gardener. Make your lists as complete as possible. Use this information in class to write a comparison, contrast paragraph.

Chapter 2: Write an internal monologue revealing the thoughts and feelings Buck might be feeling as he undergoes his dramatic transformation.

In-class: Make a flow chart using rectangles and arrows to indicate the stages Buck passed through as he began his transformation. Use this chart to write a process paragraph.

Chapter 3: Enter the story, and imagine that you witnessed the tension between Buck and Spitz. Write about it in a diary entry.

In-class: Make a list of the ways in which the rivalry of Buck and Spitz affects the group of sled dogs. Use this information to write a definition paragraph.

Chapter 4: Buck imagines he sees "a hairy man", a cave man, as he regresses further, becoming more savage. Draw Buck's dream, and write a poem to express what he is imagining.

In-class: Use rectangles and arrows to make a flow chart indicating the events in this last chapter indicate a change is coming over Buck. Then, decide what may be the logical outcome of such a transformation. Use this information to write a deductive paragraph.

Chapter 5: Write a speech to John Thornton, from Buck's perspective, telling him about your former owners, and your feelings about working for them.

In-class: Fold a sheet of paper in half. On the left side, make statements about Francoise and Perault, and on the other side, about Hal, Charles and Mercedes. Use this information to write a comparison, contrast paragraph.

Chapter 6: Write a poem from Buck's perspective expressing his feelings, his thoughts, and his fears during his new life with John Thornton.

In-class: Write a descriptive paragraph about John Thornton or Buck.

Chapter 7: Draw a symbol from the novel, and discuss its meaning.

In-class: One theme of this novel is Darwin's theory, survival of the fittest. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can on this theme. Then, identify examples from the novel which develop this theme. Use this to write an inductive paragraph.

Final Essay: Write a 5-7 paragraph essay which explains how a particular theme is developed in this novel. Themes may be "Darwinism", "Realism", "Naturalism", or something more concrete, such as "each is a product of his environment."