Call of the Wild (Chapter Questions)

Chapter 5 Questions

1. What was Mercedes’ reaction when experienced men went through her belongs to lighten the load? What does this say about her and about her relationship with her husband and brother?

2. Why do you think London included these three characters in the book? What do they represent?

3. Why did Buck refuse to rise and lead the team? What did he have that his masters lacked?



1.What are the “laws of club and fang” that Buck learned in chapter II? How are these laws different from what Buck was used to?

2.What is the one thing that Dave and Sol-leks live for? Why do you think they are like this? How do you think they got this way? Can you think of examples of other animals or humans that show these traits? What does this tell you about animal and human nature?

3. If you were Buck, which of the other sled dogs would you chose to be your teacher and why? How is this dog like or unlike François as a teacher?

4. What trait insures that Buck will survive in the north? How is this aspect of his character shown in the story? How would this trait be accepted in his former life? What does this say about the differences in the two worlds?

5. Explain the meaning of the following quotation:

And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again. The domesticated generations fell from him. In vague ways he remembered back to the youth of the breed, to the time the wild dogs ranged in packs through the primeval forest and killed their meat as they ran it down… . Thus, as token of what a puppet thing life is, the ancient song surged through him and he came into his own again.


primordial (10): ancient, prehistoric
reproof (12): blame, criticism
tuition (12): instruction; teaching
appeasingly (12): in an attempt to please
diabolically (13): with evil intent
disconsolate (13): unhappy, gloomy
gee (16): right
haw (17): left



1. In the beginning of Chapter I, how is Buck described? Based on this description, how do you think he will deal with the hardships of the Yukon Territory? Which of his traits will serve him well in his new life? Which will he have to abandon to survive?

2. What important lesson did Buck learn from the man with the club? What is meant by the line, “It was his introduction to the reign of primitive law, and he met the introduction halfway.”?

3. How did François begin to earn Buck’s respect? From the description of this incident, predict what Buck’s relationship will be with “a big, snowy-white fellow from Spitzbergen.”

4. What is the significance of the title of this chapter?

demesne (1): domain
populous (2): with many people; well-populated
imperiously (2): like a king
sated (2): filled up; full
insular (2): protected; inexperienced
progeny (3): children; offspring
deft (3): skilled
futilely (3): unsuccessfully
vilely (3): rudely
hydrophobia (4): rabies
impending (5): soon to happen
calamity (5): disaster
surcharged (7): charged over normal price
slaver (7): saliva; slobber
primitive (8): early, not sophisticated, raw, uncivilized
dormant (8): hidden, buried, sleeping
cunning (8): wisdom, experienced; wily

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